Canada blocks poultry, eggs from Tennessee, Alabama

Cross-border travellers coming into Canada from the U.S. are being warned not to bring in raw poultry or eggs from Tennessee or Alabama following outbreaks of avian flu in those states.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Thursday announced restrictions on imports of uncooked poultry products, live birds and/or eggs from those two states until further notice.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on March 5 and 16 confirmed cases of highly pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza in separate commercial chicken breeder flocks in southern Tennessee’s Lincoln County.

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Alabama, meanwhile, has recently reported three suspected outbreaks of avian flu in flocks along its northern border with Tennessee, but as of Thursday was still waiting on USDA confirmation.

Alabama state agriculture officials said Thursday a sample from one of the state’s outbreaks had tested positive for low-pathogenic H7N9, while results from the other two outbreaks were still pending.

Alabama and U.S. federal officials emphasized the H7N9 flu virus in the Tennessee cases is not the same lineage as the Chinese high-path H7N9 strain reported to be infecting people as well as poultry in Asia.

Before coming to Canada, cross-border travellers who buy poultry and eggs while visiting the U.S. will want to make sure they have proof that those products originated from, and were bought in, states not under CFIA’s restrictions, the agency said Thursday.

For travellers, the list of restricted items includes 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.

If the goods originate in either of the affected states, “you may not bring these items into Canada,” CFIA said.

Live pet birds will be allowed if they arrive with the appropriate certification from USDA.

Commercial-level poultry and egg imports are restricted only from “specific quarantine zones” within affected states until further notice, CFIA said.

Canada has been free of notifiable avian flu as per World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) standards since late November 2016, following an outbreak of low-path H5N2 last summer on a commercial duck farm near St. Catharines, Ont. — Network

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