SA bans chicken imports from Zimbabwe

South Africa has immediately suspended all trade in live poultry, meat and table eggs from Zimbabwe over an outbreak of bird flu.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) announced on Thursday that their veterinary service was notified last week of an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in one of the commercial chicken flocks in Zimbabwe. 

The virus has been typed as H5N8.

In march this year South Africa, along with several other countries, also cracked the whip on some meat and poultry imports from Brazil over a rotten meat scandal. 

Brazil, which is the world’s largest beef and chicken exporter, announced at the time that they were investigating evidence that producers bribed government officials to approve the sale and export of tainted meat.

Botswana also banned poultry products from Zimbabwe, where 7 000 chickens died and 140 000 slaughtered from top poultry and egg producer, Irvine's, to curb the spread of the disease.

Although South Africa imports very little chicken products from Zimbabwe, DAFF said all importers were immediately notified that their import permits should be returned to the department with immediate effect. 

“We have heightened inspections of all consignments, including all private and public vehicles at all our ports of entry, especially in and out of Zimbabwe,” said Minister Senzeni Zokwana' spokesperson, Bomikazi Molapo, in a statement.