(Adds comments from state officials, details)
By Ros Krasny
WASHINGTON May 5 China has ended a ban on
importing poultry and poultry products from Virginia that had
been in place for almost seven years, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture said on Monday.
The ban, which covered all poultry produced in Virginia,
poultry transiting through Virginia, and poultry that was
exported from any port in Virginia, was imposed after a case of
avian flu was identified in a single Virginia turkey flock in
2007 during routine testing.
"This is outstanding news for Virginia's poultry industry
and the many related businesses that work to move product from
our family farms into the global marketplace," Governor Terry
McAuliffe said in a statement.
USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said
China's move was "expected to further facilitate exports of
U.S.-origin poultry and poultry products to China."
China is the third largest export market for U.S. poultry
and products, importing $503.6 million worth in 2013.
Virginia was the No. 5 turkey-producing state in 2012,
according to the National Turkey Federation, and also ranks in
the top chicken producers.
State officials, including McAuliffe and Agriculture
Secretary Todd Haymore, have discussed the ban in recent months
with top officials from China's embassy in Washington.
Haymore said Virginia "stands to gain $20 million or more in
export sales each year" now that China's General Administration
for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine and Ministry
of Agriculture has ended the ban.
"Chicken feet and wing tips may be worth a few cents per
pound in the domestic market but can sell for many times this
amount in China," Haymore said.
(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Peter Cooney)