Hong Kong officials have banned the import of poultry meat, poultry products and eggs from three counties of the United States and one province of the Netherlands. The bans, announced March 30, are in response to recent discoveries of avian influenza in those regions.

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) of Hong Kong's Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said, in view of a notification from the U.S. authorities about outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza in Stearns County and Lac Qui Parle County, Minnesota, and low pathogenic avian influenza in Crawford County, Kansas, and a notification from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) about outbreaks of low pathogenic H7 avian influenza in the Province of Friesland, the Netherlands, it has banned the import of poultry meat and products from the four areas concerned with immediate effect for the protection of Hong Kong's public health, according to a report from Shanghai Daily.

A CFS spokesman said that Hong Kong imported about 267,000 metric tons of chilled and frozen poultry meat and about 530 million poultry eggs from the United States and about 15,000 metric tons of frozen poultry meat and about 12.3 million poultry eggs from the Netherlands last year.

"The CFS has contacted the U.S. and Dutch authorities concerned over the issues and will closely monitor information issued by the OIE on avian influenza outbreaks in the countries. Appropriate action will be taken in response to the development of the situation," the spokesman said.