Efforts to increase measures that protect Latin America's poultry production from bird flu should be increased, especially in light of the emergence of new avian influenza virus strains in China, an industry gathering in Argentina was told.

Representatives from the Latin American poultry association, ALA, the Argentinian poultry processing association, CEPA, the Brazilian poultry association, UBABEF, and from individual companies discussed initiatives to protect the region from the disease and increase trade.

Francisco Turra, UBABEF president, commented: "Health is one of the most valuable resources for poultry producers across the continent, particularly for the member countries of Mercosul, in which there has never been an outbreak of avian influenza.

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"Because of this, ALA is organizing a meeting in July that will bring together government experts and the private sector from each member country to draw up a continent wide protection program."

Attendees also discussed the opening of the Mexican market to Argentinian and Brazilian exports of poultry products, and greater participation in world trade generally.