The U.S. is ramping up efforts against avian influenza. Last week the USDA renewed a $3 million grant to study the disease and now the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is considering modifying poultry testing for the disease.
APHIS has published updates to the Poultry Improvement Plan in the Federal Register and is accepting public comments on the proposed changes.
"The changes you're seeing published in the Federal Register were actually voted on and approved by the industry delegates, official delegates to our conference in Portland, Ore. In 2006," says Andy Rhorer of APHIS. "We have a 60 day comment period on this particular proposal and then we'll take the comments and consider them. Usually we don't get too many because the industry has had input into it at the biennial conference. We'll take the comments from the published version, amend it and publish the final rule. I'm hoping to get it done in the next six months."
Among the changes are more tests for avian influenza in commercial and breeding flocks, an increase in the frequency of required tests from 180 to 90 days, and more details in poultry slaughter plant audits and sampling.