©Xavier Remongin/Min.agri.fr – Open Air Poultry Breeding

On Oct. 27, in accordance with the norms of the World Organisation for Animal Health, France has recovered its status as being a country free of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). This result was obtained thanks to cleaning all outbreaks of H5N8 HPAI identified between the end of 2016 and June 2017 and the absence of new outbreaks detected on French territory for more than three months.

Stéphane Travert, French Minister of Agriculture and Food, welcomed this change in health status, which will allow for reopening markets for exports of live poultry and poultry meat and meat products. Already, Japan has announced that it is reopening its market to French poultry products.

With respect to previous recovery efforts, Stéphane Travert committed to continuing discussions to find solutions for dealing with farm losses that took place due to the shortage of duckling and chicks, in order to cover a part of the losses that the industry faced due to the outbreaks.

The reobtained status does not overshadow the need to prevent all reintroduction or spread of the virus, notably through the implementation of new biosecurity measures for all owners of poultry and other captive birds. Several cases of HPAI have recently been discovered in several European countries, reminding of the importance of biosecurity measures and a strict engagement by professionals and actors in the industry to prevent contamination and dissemination of the disease.

An information campaign has recently been launched in the professional press to remind all parties of the obligation of respecting these measures in order to keep France free of highly pathogenic avian influenza.