File photo. The decision was made following an outbreak of highly contagious H5N2 bird flu strain Image Credit: File

Dubai: The UAE is blocking imports of live birds and related bird products from Russia into the country based on a World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) health warning of a bird flu H5N2 outbreak on a farm in the central region of Kurskaya Oblast in Russia.

However, thermally-treated poultry products (meat and eggs) have been cleared for import from all parts of Russia.

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) announced the ban on Tuesday.

The ban will guard against the import of all species of domestic and wild live birds, ornamental birds, chicks, hatching eggs, meats and meat products and non-heat-treated wastes from the affected region and from previously infected provinces (Respublika Kalmykia, Astrakhanskaya Oblast, Kostromskaya Oblast) in the Russian Federation.

Dr Majid Sultan Al Qassimi, assistant undersecretary for the Food Diversity Sector at the environment ministry, said: “These measures reiterate the Ministry’s keenness in achieving its strategic objectives including enhancing bio-security levels and eliminating pathogens before they enter the country. In doing so, the Ministry prevents the bird flu virus and related risks and impacts on the country’s poultry health and safety, in addition to protecting public health and well-being.”

The ministry said it is carefully scrutinizing documentation accompanying consignments (certificate of origin, health certificate and halal certifications, among others) of food products shipped into the country.

The ministry said it is also conducting sensory detection to ensure that the quality of the products - as per their identification cards - complies with the UAE’s stringent standards.

Samples of food products from shipments are transferred to laboratories for the necessary tests to ensure they are safe and fit to enter the country.