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No bird flu in Kashmir: J&K govt lifts ban on poultry imports

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Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government has lifted the ban on the import of chicken and other poultry products after no case of bird flu was detected in the union territory.

 On January 8, the administration banned the import of chicken and other poultry products to the valley following the outbreak of bird flu in different states including Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

 

However, the administration has resumed the imports after declaring the consumption of poultry safe for humans.

“We have resumed import of poultry. During our screening drive, no case of bird flu was found from any part of the valley,” Director Animal Husbandry, Kashmir, Purnima Mittal told The Kashmir Monitor.

She said the department has established screening cum checkpoints at two locations on Srinagar-Jammu national highway to check poultry before being allowed to enter the valley.

“We have established screening points at Zig and Lakhanpur on the national highway where the samples of poultry are being collected and monitored. Our officials conduct sample surveillance to check whether any unnatural death or high mortality is reported by the trader,” Mittal said.

Director animal husbandry said they have already issued an advisory for cooking chicken above 70 degrees centigrade. “The chicken is completely safe to be consumed in Kashmir and it should be cooked at 70 Degree Celsius for at least 10 minutes,” she said.

Jammu and Kashmir depends on neighboring states including Punjab and Haryana for poultry products. Almost 60 percent of poultry is imported from these two states. Jammu and Kashmir import poultry products worth over Rs 800 crore annually.

Poultry framers have heaved a sigh of relief after the government lifted the ban on imports.

 President Kashmir Valley Poultry Farmers Association Ghulam Mohammad Bhat told The Kashmir Monitor that people are still apprehensive of consuming poultry products.

“The poultry has started picking up to some extent, but there are still many who are apprehensive. Since there has not been a single case of bird flu, the farmers have resumed their businesses to rare and sell poultry products. The government has declared poultry safe for people,” he said.