By Ana Mano and Rodrigo Viga Gaier
SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Japan will resume chicken imports from Brazil’s Santa Catarina state after a ban triggered by an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in backyard flocks there, according to a statement citing Governor Jorginho Mello on Friday.
The statement said the ban was imposed on July 17 and cited a bilateral agreement under which the embargo would be lifted if no irregularities were confirmed within 28 days.
The statement cautioned that resumption of sales “is not automatic and depends on Japan’s agreement.”
“Santa Catarina is free of avian flu,” Mello said. “We are a reference for animal health … and the outbreak is already overcome …,” the governor said.
The Brazilian agriculture ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Japan’s embassy in Brazil did not immediately comment.
The news is a boon to local meat processors, as Japan is Santa Catarina’s top poultry export destination, according to the state government.
Nationwide, only China imported more Brazilian chicken than Japan in the first seven months of 2023, according to trade data compiled by pork and poultry lobby ABPA.
Japan had temporarily banned chicken products coming from Espirito Santo state in late June and from Santa Catarina in mid-July.
In May, Brazil reported its first-ever case of highly pathogenic avian influenza — in wild birds. But the country remains technically free of the disease as there have been no detections on commercial flocks.
Japan bought 257,446 tons of chicken products from Brazil in the year through July, an 8.2% annual rise, ABPA data shows. It was also Brazil’s biggest egg importer in the period.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier in Rio de Janeiro and Ana Mano in São Paulo; additional reporting by Roberto Samora and Peter Frontini; Writing by Ana Mano; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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