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Norway requested to step up preparedness for infectious avian diseases

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A report published by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) recommends that Norway strengthen controls for infectious avian diseases. The report follows an audit of Norway from 9 to 18 October 2023.

The objective of the audit was to verify that Norway complies with the applicable EEA animal health legislation governing the control of two bird diseases: highly pathogenic avian influenza and Newcastle disease.

ESA found that Norway’s competent authority successfully managed several disease outbreaks of farmed birds between 2021 and 2023. It was supported by the National Reference Laboratory which provides scientific and technical assistance. The diagnostic service for suspect disease outbreaks in farmed poultry was rapid, but ESA found delays in testing and reporting samples from other poultry and wild birds which reduces the possibility of introducing early control measures.

ESA concluded that the contingency plans did not fully describe all the actions required to provide a rapid response to a disease outbreak. This resulted in delays in initiating certain disease control measures.

In response to ESA’s draft report, Norway has provided a preliminary action plan to address all the recommendations. This plan is attached to the report.

Food safety in the EEA

EEA law sets high standards for food and feed safety and for animal health and welfare.

ESA is responsible for monitoring how Iceland and Norway implement EEA rules on food safety, feed safety and animal health and welfare.

Consequently, ESA performs regular audits in both countries, while Liechtenstein is subject to a different surveillance system for food safety.

ESA’s report can be found here.

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