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Ban on Meat And Poultry From Spain

Qatar has imposed a temporary ban on the import of meat and poultry products from Spain, following the discovery of a new strain of bird flu virus- H7N7- in the country.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Joint Committee for Food Inspection held in the premises of the Supreme Council of Health.

The ban applies to all meat and poultry products from Spain fresh and frozen including eggs. H7N7 is a subtype of Influenza virus A, the pathogens responsible for influenza. H7N7 can infect humans, birds, pigs, seals, and horses in the wild; and has infected mice in laboratory studies.

The virus was detected in farms in Netherlands and the UK in 2003, 2006 and 2008 and most recently in a farm in Almoguera, Guadalajara, Spain last October. Some countries have already suspended imports of poultry from Spain.

The ban, however, is not likely to have a significant impact on the local market, since Spain is not a major exporter of poultry products to Qatar. Most of the imported poultry products in Qatar come from Brazil, France, the US and the neighboring GCC countries while meat is imported from a number of other countries including Sudan, Syria, Australia, India and Pakistan.

The Committee discussed follow-up measures to be taken over commodities confiscated by the authorities recently for further investigations. The Committee decided to release some of these consignments into the market including an olive oil brand and roasted watermelon seeds having found fit for consumption.

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