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Swiss government bans poultry imports from Italy

Switzerland has slapped a temporary ban on all poultry imports from Italy, over fears they could carry a highly contagious form of bird flu. The Federal Veterinary Office is blocking deliveries of chicken and other fowl products at the border.

This content was published on January 14, 2000 - 20:53

Switzerland has slapped a temporary ban on all poultry imports from Italy, over fears they could carry a highly contagious form of bird flu. The Federal Veterinary Office is blocking deliveries of chicken and other fowl products at the border to keep the infection from spreading to flocks here. It said there was no risk to humans.

Poultry products from Italy amounted to just under six per cent of all such imports last year. Switzerland's Migros supermarket chain said it only sold Italian poultry in Canton Ticino, and that the products had now been pulled from the shelves. The Coop chain said it did not stock any Italian poultry.

The outbreak in Italy has led to the slaughter of more than 3 million birds since Christmas. The Italian authorities said it would step up checks on poultry and eggs in the north, the region most affected, in order to keep the epidemic at bay.

The Federal Veterinary Office said the Italian virus bears no relation to the bird flu epidemic which broke out in Hong Kong in 1997.

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