The European Union informed South Africa that it accepts the country’s status as free from Highly Pathogenic Notifiable Avian Influenza (HPNAI). The export of fresh ostrich meat could therefore resume from November 1, 2006, according to the new ostrich protocol. This protocol allows for compartmentalisation of the ostrich industry and involves testing within 28 days prior to slaughter, with negative results.

The decision by the EU is the result of the successful eradication of the active outbreak of H5N2 in ostriches in the Southern Cape in July 2006.

No further isolations or identification of the highly pathogenic virus could be made.

Extensive surveillance is continuing throughout the country in all commercial ostriches, commercial and non-commercial chickens. Chickens have remained negative for the H5N2 virus, at all times.

This breakthrough in negotiations with the EU is a result of continuous and transparent communication between South African and EU officials.

The Department of Agriculture and the Directorate of Animal Health greatly appreciates the collaboration, assistance and effort of the Ostrich Business Chamber and the Western Cape Veterinary Services in this matter.

Source: Department of Agriculture