Canada expands blocks on U.S. poultry, eggs

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Canada’s avian flu-related ban on imports of poultry, birds and eggs from Washington and Oregon has been expanded to include the same products from California and Idaho.

The ban was expanded after outbreaks of avian flu in poultry in the past week in both states, including a backyard flock of chickens in Idaho infected with the H5N2 strain and a commercial turkey ranch in California with H5N8.

The ban, announced Monday, applies to commercial imports of live poultry, birds and “raw or untreated avian products” from specific quarantine zones within the states of California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington until further notice, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said.

CFIA, in its notice Monday, said travellers “may not bring” raw poultry and any poultry products and byproducts that aren’t fully cooked, including eggs and raw pet foods, into Canada from any of the affected states.

Restricted items include live birds and hatching eggs; eggs, yolks and egg whites; poultry meat other than fully cooked, canned, commercially sterile meat products; feathers; poultry manure and litter; and lab materials containing poultry products and/or byproducts.

Control measures

Live pet birds may be brought into Canada, CFIA said, but will need official certification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

CFIA emphasized there’s “no food safety risk associated with these products” but that the measures are being taken to prevent introduction of avian flu into “other parts” of Canada.

CFIA is still monitoring December’s outbreaks of high-path H5N2 in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley region, which so far have included 11 turkey, broiler and egg operations in the region plus one backyard flock.

No new sites have been identified with avian flu since Dec. 19 and “depopulation” of all infected properties is complete, the agency said previously.

Cleaning and disinfection are now underway at the sites, after which disease control measures will stay in place for another 21 days.

If no new cases are found, either in traceouts or by other means, during a 90-day surveillance period, the affected zone can be considered free of avian flu, CFIA said.

Canadian federal health officials on Monday also confirmed an unrelated case of H7N9 avian flu in a B.C. resident, marking the first documented case of the virus in a human in North America. The person had returned Jan. 12 to Canada after visiting several locations in China. — Network

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