S Korea to adopt tracking system for poultry supply chain

South Korea will adopt a tracking system for poultry meats and their eggs to provide consumers with information about the complete supply chain and minimise fallout from contagious animal diseases, the agriculture ministry said on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said the tracking system will record information on chickens, ducks and their eggs, throughout the process from breeding to sales. It said such a system can better allow authorities to trace the origins of birds when they are infected with bird flu or contaminated with harmful pesticides.

The ministry will provide identification numbers to each farm from March to October and test-run the programme for a year starting in November.

About 10 per cent of poultry and eggs will be subject to the pilot programme, and the system will be fully implemented in December 2018, the ministry said.

South Korea adopted a tracking system for cows in 2008 and for pigs in 2014.

The latest measure comes as South Korea has been grappling with the spread of bird flu at local farms, raising alarms just two weeks ahead of the Winter Olympics, which are to be held in Gangwon Province.

On Sunday, the ministry confirmed a new case of the highly pathogenic H5N6 bird flu at a layer chicken farm in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometres south of Seoul, marking the 16th case this winter.

About 1.78 million poultry have been culled since November, to curb the spread of the highly contagious animal disease, according to the ministry. — YONHAP