A detected outbreak of salmonella among some brands of Icelandic chicken has cost Icelandic poultry farmers millions, and caused the government to review its tariffs on imported fowl.
49 separate incidences of salmonella in the birds themselves have caused recalls and disposed animals across the country. The Farmer’s Paper reports that while there have been no serious illnesses reported, the resulting waste of poultry, as well as the thorough cleaning of hen houses required to fully eradicate salmonella, has cost Icelandic farmers over 100 million ISK.
The paper reports that salmonella is so rare in Iceland, and the farmers so unprepared to fight it, that they have had to call in Norwegian specialists to assist them.
Meanwhile, Fréttablaðið reports that Bjarni Harðarson, the spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture of Fishing, told reporters that they are “seriously considering” lowering the tariffs on imported chicken. Domestic prices have risen so dramatically that in order to meet the demand, the measure may be necessary. The idea marks a change of heart from the ministry. Earlier this week, Minister of Agriculture of Fishing Jón Bjarnason voiced opposition to the idea of lowering the tariffs.
The spread is said to have begun last month. Head veterinarian Halldór Runólfsson theorizes that the bacteria may have spread through chicken feed, although this has not been proven. If this is the case, it may be more widespread than is suspected. At the moment, officials, specialists and farmers are taking every precaution and taking no chances in their efforts to eradicate the bacteria.