China’s southern city of Guangzhou began a six-month trial campaign to end the sale of live poultry in some districts to reduce the spread of bird flu and improve food safety.
Retailers located in four areas were ordered to switch to the sale of chilled fresh poultry from approved slaughterhouses, according to a statement on the city’s website. Raising, storing, slaughtering and selling live birds is prohibited, effective yesterday, according the statement, which was dated April 26.
Trials are also under way in the nearby cities of Foshan and Shenzhen as Guangdong province seeks to phase out the live-poultry trade, blamed for fueling the spread of bird flu to humans, Nanfang Daily newspaper reported on April 29, citing Lin Yongsheng, deputy director of the food safety committee.
More than 120 people in China had been killed by the H7N9 strain of Avian Influenza as of April 21, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency. Governments from Guangzhou in the south to Hangzhou in the east temporarily closed some markets after finding that victims came into contact with live birds.
Guangzhou aim to “ensure poultry meat safety, prevent bird flu and transform the domestic poultry industry,” according to the report in the Nanfang Daily, which is controlled by the Guangdong province government. The province is China’s biggest regional economy and neighbors Hong Kong.
Guangzhou Kwangfeng Industry Co., Guangzhou Rongli Poultry Co. and Guangdong Tiannong Food Co., were chosen as authorized suppliers from among eight companies selling poultry to Hong Kong, the newspaper said, citing Lin.
The city government will give 7.2 million yuan ($1.2 million) in subsidies to the stalls and markets to install proper equipment for selling chilled fresh poultry, according to the daily.
The measures will be gradually extended city-wide after October, covering 70 percent of the Guangzhou’s poultry trade by 2017, Nanfang Daily said, citing a draft plan.