Flu controls lifted on Ontario duck farm’s neighbours

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has lifted a three-kilometre avian flu control zone around a duck farm in Ontario’s Niagara region, freeing up traffic on and off neighbouring farms.

All but one of the commercial and non-commercial farms in the control zone were released from quarantine effective Tuesday and will no longer need licensing for movements of animals, equipment or related products, CFIA said.

The lone farm still under quarantine is a commercial duck operation west of St. Catharines that was confirmed the week of July 4 with a low-pathogenic strain of H5N2 avian flu.

Cleaning and disinfection processes are “still underway” at the duck farm, according to the Feather Board Command Centre, the emergency response desk for Ontario’s poultry and egg sectors.

The quarantine on the index farm is expected to be lifted following a 21-day waiting period after cleaning and disinfection work are complete, the FBCC said Thursday.

The farm’s 14,000-odd ducks, which were around 12 weeks of age, have been euthanized.

Biological heat treatment of compost at the index farm was completed July 24, CFIA said. The treatment process includes making sure the compost pile has reached the proper temperature and time requirements to kill the avian flu virus.

The FBCC said Thursday that all poultry producers and industry stakeholders can resume their “individual standard biosecurity practices.”

Once the St. Catharines avian flu case was confirmed, the centre had urged Ontario producers to heighten biosecurity measures and monitor movement onto and off their farms.

Avian flu does not pose a risk to food safety when poultry and poultry products are properly handled and cooked.

Canada’s most recent highly-pathogenic avian flu outbreaks were last year on farms in British Columbia and southern Ontario. The country had been considered free of notifiable avian influenza since October, up until last month’s case was confirmed.

Trading partners such as the U.S. usually restrict imports of poultry and poultry products from countries with avian flu, but only in cases involving a high-path outbreak.

Some other countries, however, have been known to impose restrictions on Canadian poultry and related products in cases involving a low-path outbreak, as seen in Manitoba in 2010. — AGCanada.com Network

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