The Center for Food Safety of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department in Hong Kong announced March 13 that it has banned importing poultry, poultry products and eggs from a poultry holding in the village of Lochem, Gelderland Province, the Netherlands. The ban is effective immediately, in view of a notification from the Netherlands Consulate General in Hong Kong about an outbreak of H7 avian influenza in the village for the protection of Hong Kong's public and animal health.

"We have contacted the Netherlands authorities for more details on the issue and will closely monitor information issued by the World Organization for Animal Health, OIE, on the avian influenza outbreak in the Netherlands. Appropriate action will be taken in response to the development of the situation," a Center for Food Safety spokesman stated.

Last year, Hong Kong imported about 17 000 metric tons of frozen poultry and 1.3 million poultry eggs from the Netherlands.