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#503571 - 04/22/15 11:01 AM Blue Bellís Total Recall Comes To Belize
Marty Offline
A total recall of imported Blue Bell ice cream includes Belize.

It started in March when we told you about 7 Blue Bell products that were recalled after 3 American consumers died. Well, the company is now recalling all its products including the ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and other frozen treats.

According to CNN, the products could be contaminated with Listeria - which is a deadly bacteria.

So what does it mean locally? We spoke to the manager of Arctic Cold, who imports Blue Bell, and he told us that the health department will start taking all these products off BELIZEAN shelves tomorrow.

Channel 7


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#503572 - 04/22/15 11:02 AM Re: Blue Bellís Total Recall Comes To Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Adding Up The Cost and Consequence of Avian Influenza

In January, we told you that BAHA and the Ministry of Agriculture detected avian influenza at 2 poultry farms in the Spanish Lookout Community. A few days later, the Ministry updated the public that about 12,000 birds tested positive.

Well, tonight, we've confirmed that after 3 rounds of testing, the public health officials have discovered approximately 75,000 birds with the virus. 60,000 of that infected population has been destroyed to try to contain the virus which can spread from infected poultry to you if it is consumed. You don't have to be alarmed and stop buying poultry, however. The stocks on the shelves are safe for consumption.

What is being affected is the next round of poultry stocks which would have hit the shelves in the next few months. But, the threat has been contained, for now, because BAHA and the Agricultural Ministry have stepped in to take action. And what does that mean exactly? Well, we went to Spanish Lookout today, and we got a chance to speak with several of the poultry farmers whose birds were infected with avian influenza.

Up until a few weeks ago, this barn used to house approximately 2,000 chickens. It is now empty because BAHA had to eradicate those birds due to avian influenza. It is now under a biohazard warning to all persons to exercise extreme caution when approaching.

That farmer gave us permission to shoot his barn, but couldn't speak with us because his poultry association has designated spokespersons. One other farmer, whose farm was affected in the same way told us he lost a sizeable investment. Another farmer's wife told us that her family lost about $300,000 dollars. CEO in the Ministry of Agriculture Jose Alpuche revealed on Plus TV's Rise and Shine Morning show today that his Ministry has had to destroy a total investment of 3 Million dollars:

Jose Alpuche, CEO - Ministry of Agriculture
"In early January we, through routine surveillance, avian influenza was detected in Spanish Lookout. It's a flu, it's a virus. It can spread fairly easily. The strain of virus that was found is what is called zoonotic - that it can transmit from animals to human and also too it can mutate. What we have right now is called low pathogenic avian influenza, which means that the birds are sick, but you don't see a whole lot of clinical signs. It's not like when you have a highly pathogenic outbreak and the birds start dying off literally within hours. So, it's a low pathogenic outbreak, but of a zoonotic disease. Two things we have to be very careful of; one, that we don't give it a chance to mutate to highly pathogenic strain and two, that is does not transfer. So, the immediate exercise has been to try to contain the virus. We've had infections with a very tight zone within Spanish Lookout. We also too detected the virus in a village called Buena Vista, which is just outside. Buena Vista, the local back yard hens were all depopulated. The community agree with BAHA to undertake voluntary depopulation. I must say, I empathized, I even sympathized with them for the economic loss. Because they probably loss about 3 million dollars at least so far. So, it's a heavy impact, but they recognized that we absolutely need to get the virus/outbreak under control. We've done two rounds to testing, the third round of testing started last week. The idea is that through continuous testing, especially in the hot zone, we are trying to get to day zero. The day when we don't find any infection."

Today, we found BAHA Officers on high alert, checking all motorists leaving the Spanish Lookout Community with poultry products. The state officials are trying to stay on top of this public health issue, and so more infected birds will be slaughtered:

Jose Alpuche, CEO - Ministry of Agriculture
"Whithin Spanish Lookout, we've already depopulated I believe its 12 farms. We have I think 4 more slated for depopulation. It will end up being with these two rounds or depopulation, about 75,000 birds."

We stress that the chicken currently in stock at your corner shop are not infected with influenza. There are also the majority of poultry farmers in Western and Northern Belize which are not affected by the avian influenza outbreak. But, in the long run, how will this 3 million dollar investment loss affect the market? Will this drive up the price of chicken until the poultry industry regularizes? The Agricultural Ministry CEO was asked this question this morning, and here's how he answered:

Host
"Are there some compensation for these farmers who lose their birds?"

Jose Alpuche, CEO - Ministry of Agriculture
"Unfortunately no. Within the system we don't have compensation."

Pastor Louis Wade, Plus TV
"So the follow question then will be, because money will come from somewhere. Money will go somewhere. If they have lost up to 3 million dollars, will that speak to some kind of increase per pound in sale in the short term or something to that effect?"

Jose Alpuche, CEO - Ministry of Agriculture
"We have not have that discussion as yet. To be very honest, I think yes it's an issue that more than likely we will have to discuss in the future. But at the moment all minds are focused on containment."

As we told you, the farmers affected by this outbreak told us today that only designated representatives of the Association, Orlando "Landy" Habet, and the Chairman, can speak. They are both out of the country.

Channel 7


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