Cuba has suspended chicken imports from the United States, citing fears over the avian influenza outbreak that has hit the poultry industry.
Alimport, the food importer ran by the Cuban government, stated that it would not accept chicken shipments from the U.S. during the months of August and September.
Avian influenza in the United States has been a serious concern as the virus has been detected in 21 U.S. states, affecting commercial poultry flocks, backyard flocks and wild birds. The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has estimated that the virus has affected more than 47.8 million birds in the U.S. However, few of those avian influenza cases have hit the U.S. broiler industry and instead have had a much larger impact on turkey and layer flocks.
The Cuban trade restrictions would have a moderate impact on the U.S. poultry industry during those months, as the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council estimated that U.S. chicken exports to Cuba totaled $147.5 million in 2014, according to a Reuters report.
The implementation of Cuba’s trade restrictions follows similar actions from other countries that have banned U.S. poultry and eggs since the avian influenza outbreak began. In May, Jim Sumner, president of USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, said trade restrictions by 40 countries have already cost U.S. poultry and egg producers $600 million in the first three months of this year.
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