The Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) is urging importers to adhere to the established guidelines for importing meat and live animals to safeguard the country from diseases.
GLDA Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Dwight Walrond made this appeal, the Department of Public Information (DPI) reported, after a quantity of undocumented and expired duck meat was seized from a local business.
According to the report, Dr Walrond recalled that in 2019, Guyana discovered the presence of duck hepatitis. The disease, which had been suspected locally, was confirmed by Cornell University, USA. That outbreak was first discovered in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) and subsequently spread to most of the islands in the Essequibo River and along the coast.
“The challenge that we still face as a country is that we have vast borders. Because of that, for us to police the entire system, it is difficult. So, I just want to implore to all stakeholders, let us do the right thing when it comes to importation of biologicals,” Dr Walrond is quoted by DPI as saying.
Meanwhile, the GLDA is intensifying its public awareness and surveillance exercises at meat centres and supermarkets countrywide.
The Deputy CEO said Guyana was currently in a “good state” concerning the duck industry. There is no widespread mortality to date, and more tests are being done to avoid a recurrence of the disease.
On Monday, 219 kilograms (483 pounds) of undocumented and expired packaged duck meat was seized from a local business. The GLDA discovered the product during a routine surveillance exercise. The goods were confiscated under the Animal Health Act and the Public Health Ordinance.
GLDA CEO, Dr Grayson Halley had emphasised that importers or prospective importers must apply for permission to import meat. He said there was an established procedure which the Authority followed.
“The GLDA [does] a general risk assessment to identify what disease may be prevalent in relation to that particular meat and if we are satisfied, and there is no risk to our local population or animals, we issue the ‘no objection letter’.”
The letter is then submitted to the Health Ministry’s Public Health Department for follow-up and feedback to the GLDA, which then issues the permit.