Last avian flu-related block on U.S. poultry lifted

(Stephen Ausmus photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

The last of Canada’s temporary avian flu-related rules against cross-border travellers bringing in poultry and/or eggs from the U.S. has been lifted.

According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, live birds, raw poultry, eggs and certain other raw or less-than-cooked poultry products originating in Indiana may again be brought into Canada.

Lifted effective June 27, the ban had been imposed in mid-January after a commercial turkey farm in southern Indiana’s Dubois County was confirmed with highly pathogenic (“high-path”) H7N8 avian flu.

For travellers, the list of restricted items had included live birds, hatching eggs, eggs, yolks, egg whites, uncooked or partially-cooked poultry meat, raw poultry-based pet foods, feathers, poultry manure/litter and laboratory materials containing poultry products or byproducts. Commercial-level poultry and egg imports were restricted only from “specific quarantine zones” within affected states.

Between December 2014 and June 2015, CFIA had imposed such restrictions on poultry and eggs from 15 states where strains of high-path H5N2 and/or H5N8 avian flu had appeared in commercial poultry flocks. The last of Canada’s restrictions from those outbreaks, on goods from North Dakota and Missouri, were lifted in March.

After the Indiana outbreak was resolved, the U.S. on April 22 declared itself free of high-path avian flu as per World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) standards, but Canada until June 27 had kept its restrictions on Indiana poultry in place.

Canada was also free of reportable avian influenza from mid-October up until Thursday, when birds on a commercial duck operation in Ontario’s Niagara region were confirmed to have low-path H5 avian flu — specifically, H5N2.

“Depopulation” of all that farm’s birds was completed Sunday, CFIA said on its website. No other “high-risk contact premises” near the St. Catharines farm have yet turned up with infected birds. — Network

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