Mexico and Singapore this week joined the list of countries that are restricting or banning the importation of poultry from Washington and Oregon states as a result of recent non-commercial outbreaks of avian influenza.  The total number of countries that taken such as position now stands at 30, including Japan and Peru.

Seventeen nations have banned poultry from Oregon and Washington, expect Hong Kong and Macedonia, which have narrowed their bans to only poultry coming out of Benton County, Washington and Douglas County, Oregon, respectively.  Four countries have placed restrictions only on Oregon poultry.

Sri Lanka, South Korea, and Thailand have banned all U.S. poultry and poultry products.  USDA has criticized the response of these countries as too extreme under the current circumstances.

Avian influenza was first detected in mid-December when a falcon in Whatcom County, Washington was found to be infected with H5N8.  That same strain was found in southern Oregon.  And, on January 4 it was reported that a small, backyard flock of chickens in Washington was found to be infected with H5NS.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is urging trade partners to remain calm and to consider “sound science” when considering whether to place restrictions on U.S. exports, particularly since there have been no cases of avian influenza contaminating commercial flocks to date as a result of this outbreak in the Pacific Northwest.

The current situation underscores how a few non-commercial AI cases can begin a chain reaction of trade restrictions that may wind up costing the poultry industry millions of dollars, Toby Moore vice president of communications for the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, told Politico on Wednesday.   Any speculation about how big of a dent it will make to the industry would be purely anecdotal, and export data for January will not be released until March, Moore noted.

More countries could choose to impose restrictions in coming days, which could jeopardize product currently being shipped.  “There’s a lot of loads of product that’s on the water,” Moore said.  “A lot of it can be diverted elsewhere, a lot of it can’t.  Some countries haven’t made any notice yet, but they have done son in the past, Moore said.