Stakeholders in the Zambian poultry industry want an independent consultant to investigate whether the highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N8), commonly known as bird flu, can spread to the process of making deboned chicken meat.
The request comes after reports of backyard meat processing companies which sprung up to meet the demand for the paste-like chicken product. It is produced by blending chickens in a high pressure sieve to separate bones from the meat.
“In keeping with the strict biosecurity measures we have in place to protect the local poultry industry from the outbreak of bird flu, we have been guided by the producers on the need to scrutinise the entire value chain of making deboned chicken meat,” said Livestock Minister Michael Katambo.
Zambia imposed an import moratorium on poultry products earlier this year, following the outbreak of bird flu in the region. So far, the country has not recorded a single case of the disease.
Poultry Association of Zambia (PAZ) Executive Manager Dominic Chanda said the outcome of the study will enhance biosecurity measures to keep bird flu at bay.
“The consultant, whose cost will be borne by the industry, started his work this week and his remit will run for 60 days,” Chanda said.
According to Chanda, the study will include inspection of sources of deboned chicken meat on the market.