Director of Animal Health: Store chickens safe to eat, despite bird flu outbreak

The South African Poultry Association says it will discuss with government how to strike the balance between disease management and financial risk impact of a bird flu outbreak.

Two individual cases of bird flu have been reported in Mpumalanga and the Free State.

An outbreak of a highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu at a farm in the Free State province was confirmed by the agricultural industry body group, AgriSA, on Friday.

READ: Reports of H5N8 bird flu in South Africa

Government has introduced a ban on the sale of live poultry to minimise the risk of the disease spreading.

The poultry association's Kevin Lovell says the outbreak has not reached a crisis point and that the affected farms make up a small percentage of South Africa's supply.

What government is saying is how do we stop this disease spreading? Banning the sale of live birds is one such way. Today in our meeting we will look at what is the fair balance between business continuity and disease spread risk. No right answer. It is a discussion.

Kevin Lovell, CEO of the South African Poultry Association

One is a commercial egg laying farm, 1% of South Africa's egg supply is affected. It sounds like a lot of chickens but it is not a lot of eggs. It is not a crisis yet. The first farm was a boiler breeder farm, also a small percentage of South Africa's supply.

Kevin Lovell, CEO of the South African Poultry Association

It is not a crisis yet. If it spreads it could become a crisis and fortunately for us, this particular strain does not affect people. It just affects farmers.

Kevin Lovell, CEO of the South African Poultry Association

Click on the link below to listen to the full audio...

Meanwhile the National Director of Animal Health, Dr Mpho Maja says consumers have nothing to worry about and that the meat in store is safe to eat.

She explains why government has banned the sale of live chickens.

It takes about 4 to 7 days before a disease is manifested if a bird is infected, so in that 4 to 7 days we would not know that those birds are affected. If the culls are infected and incubating the disease, they re going to further spread it.

Dr Mpho Maja, Management Team Director of Animal Health

It is not for consumer protection, it is basically to prevent the spread of the disease. The WHO as well as the World Organisation for Animal Health have confirmed that the H5N8 does not affect people.

Dr Mpho Maja, Management Team Director of Animal Health

Click on the audio below to listen to the full audio...


702 welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the 702 community a safe and welcoming space for all.

702 reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

702 is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
John Moodey re-elected as DA leader in Gauteng

John Moodey re-elected as DA leader in Gauteng

The DA held its provincial congress at the weekend, where Moodey was up against Ghaleb Cachalia.

 Mugabe is actually showing them that he knows this game - Njabulo Ncube

Mugabe is actually showing them that he knows this game - Njabulo Ncube

Millions tuned for the Zimbabwean president's 'resignation' speech on Sunday night and instead called for unity in Zanu-PF.

Department of Trade and Industry launches One Stop Shop for investors

Department of Trade and Industry launches One Stop Shop for investors

President Jacob Zuma opened the One Stop Shop in Durban at the weekend.

Political desk: Bongo is actively trying to undermine Parliament

Political desk: Bongo is actively trying to undermine Parliament

Karima Brown analyses allegations that State Security Minister Bongani Bongo has been accused of offering a bribe.

Reports of H5N8 bird flu in South Africa

Reports of H5N8 bird flu in South Africa

An outbreak on a farm in the Free State and another in Mpumalanga have been confirmed.

"Bird flu hard to prevent because it doesn't walk or jump - it flies!"

"Bird flu hard to prevent because it doesn't walk or jump - it flies!"

SA Poultry Association's Kevin Lovell says plans are in place to stop the possible spread to SA after an outbreak in Zimbabwe.

Popular articles
7 tips on how to keep your child safe in public

7 tips on how to keep your child safe in public

Social worker and Childline manager Faiza Khota shares practical advise on how to help protect children in public spaces.

Soon you may not be able to light up in public (indoors or out!)

Soon you may not be able to light up in public (indoors or out!)

The Dept of Health is looking to introduce draft legislation that includes a complete ban on all smoking in public areas.

'KZN nudist beach would be a draw card for international tourism'

'KZN nudist beach would be a draw card for international tourism'

Chairman of KZN Naturists Association Christo Bothma says having the section of the South Coast beach will boost the economy.

New drug known as 'flakka' hits Durban

New drug known as 'flakka' hits Durban

Sam Pillay, founder and director of Anti-Drug Forum SA says once the drug takes effect, the user appears possessed.

The President's Keepers: PDF version is tantamount to theft - Exclusive Books

The President's Keepers: PDF version is tantamount to theft - Exclusive Books

A PDF version of the book has been doing the rounds since Sars and the State Security Agency threatened legal action.

Falling out of love? Signs and stages of romantic disengagement

Falling out of love? Signs and stages of romantic disengagement

Can you love your partner, but no longer be in love with them? Dr Eve unravels stages of disaffection in romantic relationships.

Celibacy liberated me - Amanda Ndiki

Celibacy liberated me - Amanda Ndiki

Author Amanda Ndiki, celibate for 6 years describes her journey and how celibacy helped mend her sense of self.

'The university degree is dead'

'The university degree is dead'

Flux Trends founder Dion Chang gives five reasons why he believes getting a degree is past its sell by date.