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Mexico Temporarily Bans U.S. Chicken

June 25, 2002

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NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico (AP) _ Mexican authorities placed a temporary ban on imports of chicken from seven U.S. states, after the government reported cases of poultry infected with avian flu.

The move _ a blow to U.S. farmers who depend on export markets like Mexico to get rid of dark meat that is hard to sell to U.S. consumers _ came after authorities discovered shipments of meat with avian influenza, Department of Agriculture inspector Mauricio Mujica said Sunday.

Mexico’s Agriculture Department said the ban on imports from Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maine, Texas and California was implemented after the infected meat was detected June 11.

Mujica said the temporary ban was intended to prevent the infection of Mexican farms, which are currently believed to be free of the disease.

Avian influenza doesn’t pose health threats to humans, but is highly contagious to poultry.

Virulent forms of the disease kill between 80 and 90 percent of the birds that contract it. The latest U.S. outbreak has killed between 5 and 10 percent of the birds it infects, and forced the destruction of millions of birds.

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