Alabama bans poultry sales amid avian flu concerns

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama agriculture officials are banning poultry sales over concerns about avian influenza.

The Cullman Times ( ) reports that Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan issued an order Wednesday prohibiting bird sales, poultry exhibitions and the transportation of birds.

State veterinarian Tony Frazier says the order is the most effective way to prevent the possible spread of the illness.

The ban follows confirmation of avian flu in Tennessee, plus possible cases in the north Alabama counties of Jackson, Lauderdale and Madison counties.

A statement from the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries says no affected birds have entered the food chain.

The Alabama Poultry and Egg Association says poultry is the state's largest agriculture sector, generating about $15 billion in annual revenues and employing more than 86,000 people.