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Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Avian flu’s impact on poultry farm biosecurity in China
Cargill’s broiler farms in China provide an example of how the threat of avian influenza is altering biosecurity practices around the globe.
Poultry health experts predict that the H5 and H7 strains of avian influenza that have caused outbreaks in domesticated poultry operations on four continents may be carried by migrating birds for a number of years.
China has been at the center of the worldwide avian influenza situation for more than a decade, but it also is the world’s largest consumer market for animal protein. When Cargill began planning to build a modern broiler complex in China, the company was aware that taking effective measures to mitigate the risk posed by avian influenza needed to be an integral part of its plans. On a recent visit to the Anhui province of China, I saw firsthand how biosecurity practices on poultry farms have been ramped up.
Biosecurity at the poultry farm gate
My visit to a Cargill broiler farm located north of Chuzhou, a city of 3 million people that is about 200 miles northwest of Shanghai, began by staying away from any poultry or poultry facility for 14 days prior to my trip. While visiting the farm, we left our car outside the perimeter fence that surrounds the farm. Only essential vehicles, like chick trucks and feed trucks, enter the farm, and these vehicles pass through a truck wash immediately as they pass through the gate.
After passing through the gate at Cargill’s poultry farms in China, all trucks entering the poultry farm go through a truck wash.
Shower in shower out
After entering the farm through the locked gate, you take off your shoes and put on farm boots. You then walk through a disinfecting “tunnel” with a long dip pan. Then you enter a building where you sign a visitor log and conduct some sanitizing steps. First you sanitize your bare hands with wipes, then you use cotton swabs dipped in a sanitizing solution to swab out your nostrils and ears. Next, you rinse out your mouth with a disinfecting mouthwash and then leave the building and head for the showers.