Japan has banned imports of all Australian poultry products after an outbreak of avian influenza among ducks in the country's state of Victoria, according to reports.
The ban, which is the first embargo on Australian food exports due to human health concerns in more than thirty years, includes chicken meat, eggs and processed foods containing egg and chicken ingredients.
Australia's National Farmers' Federation has called the ban an "overreaction." The avian influenza outbreak happened on two duck farms and involved a non-harmful strain of the virus that hasn't been detected in commercial flocks, according to the federation. More than 25,000 ducks were slaughtered to prevent spread of the virus after two ducks tested positive. "As we understand it, there are no food safety issues involved in this outbreak; it is contained to just two duck farms," said National Farmers' Federation trade specialist Charlie McElhone. "Poultry and eggs are completely safe to eat, the virus is non-transmissible and the risk to human health is negligible."
The federation is asking the Australian government to ensure that Japan removes the ban as quickly as possible.