China is now on the growing list of countries that won’t accept poultry or eggs from the U.S.
It’s all because of avian flu found in backyard flocks in the western United States -- including some in the Tri-Cities.
Major trade scares aren’t new to the Columbia Basin. Farmers there dealt with the mad cow scare that sent cargo ships of U.S. beef and French fries adrift back in 2003. The difference this time is that most exported commercial chicken comes from the Midwest and South -- and the bird flu has been found in backyard flocks in Washington and Oregon.
Still, much of this chicken has to travel through the Northwest to get on a ship to prime Asian markets. USDA and state officials are here in the Tri-Cities testing every flock they can in the quarantine zone.
The U.S. poultry and egg industry calls these trade shut downs horrendous. They say it could take months or even years to restore these markets fully.