Malaysia has banned all imported chicken from China and is urging its own poultry farmers to beware of bird flu after Taiwan reported a case of the deadly strain, the first outside mainland China

April 26, 2013, 10:36 a.m. ET

Malaysia Bans Chicken Imports From China

By SHIE-LYNN LIM

Malaysia has banned all imported chicken from China and is urging its own poultry farmers to beware of bird flu after Taiwan reported a case of the deadly strain, the first outside mainland China.

Malaysia will only resume imports of China’s poultry when China is able to contain the new avian flu subtype and is declared free from the strain, Nazahiyah Sulaiman, spokeswoman at Malaysia’s Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) said. Malaysia joins Vietnam and Indonesia, which banned all poultry products from Asia’s largest economy earlier this month.Wan Mohd Kamil Wan Nik, who heads the poultry safety division at DVS, said poultry farmers already must inform DVS if 3% or more of their chickens become sick. But the department will toughen its monitoring of local farmers and processors.

“Once they have informed us, we will collect samples and decide on the next step,” said Mr. Wan Mohd, adding “it is too early to determine if there is a need to cull birds.”

Malaysia announced the ban Friday, but it was effective as of April 23 after the first case of human infection with the H7N9 virus was reported in the coastal province of Shandong, a major chicken-processing area in China. The province also accounts for the bulk of poultry that ends up in Malaysia, Abd Aziz Jamaluddin, director-general at DVS said on Friday.

Some 98 shipments amounting to 4,800 tons of chicken meat that was already on its way to Malaysia before the ban will be thoroughly tested before “we let them in,” Mr. Abd Aziz said. Malaysia imports about 22,000 metric tons of frozen chicken meat from China, accounting for 65% of the country’s annual purchases from abroad. The rest comes from Thailand and the European Union.

The import ban “will not have a major impact” on chicken meat processors in Malaysia, said an industry executive from the Federation of Livestock Farmers’ Associations of Malaysia, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Processors will be able to make up the difference by buying more meat from local poultry farms.

Consumption of chicken meat in Malaysia is high by global standards, with per-capita consumption around 77 pounds, reflecting in part subsidies and price controls. Chicken is the cheapest and most popular source of protein in the country because there are no religious restrictions against its consumption. Islam—the dominant religion in Malaysia—forbids the eating of pork while Hindus generally abstain from beef.

“Malaysia is self-sufficient in chicken meat production,” the industry executive said, adding that some local broilers use imported chicken meat cuts from China because it is cheaper than domestic equivalents.

A 53-year old Taiwanese male developed flulike symptoms three days after returning from China’s Jiangxi Province, where the virus first emerged, according to Taiwan’s Center for Disease Control. China has reported at least 111 human infections—23 of them fatal—from the disease, according to Chinese authorities and the World Health Organization. WHO has a global advisory on the avian flu, urging against contact with live poultry, although it stopped short of recommending travel restrictions to China.

China’s state news agency Xinhua reported Friday that the eastern province of Jiangxi had reported its first case, leaving a 69-year old man in critical condition at a local hospital.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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