After a lethal strain of avian flu was discovered at a Nova Scotia turkey farm in Canada, the European Union and nine countries, including the United States, imposed trade restrictions on select poultry products from two Atlantic Canadian provinces.
The presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza, subtype H5N1, in a commercial flock in western Nova Scotia was confirmed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on 3 February this year.
The virus killed approximately 12 000 turkeys on the farm. After becoming infected with avian flu, around half perished and the rest were killed to prevent the disease from spreading.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) notified the World Organisation for Animal Health (WHOAH) that a bird flu epidemic had been identified in a commercial chicken flock in Nova Scotia. The disease’s status in Canada was then changed to “not free”, forcing some countries to impose trade restrictions on specific Canadian poultry products.
Since an outbreak in western Canada in 2015, this is the first time H5N1 has been discovered in a commercial flock in North America. During the 2015 epidemic, millions of commercially produced birds died in the United States and Canada.
The presence of H5N1 in a backyard flock in eastern Nova Scotia was also confirmed by the CFIA on February 1. The backyard flock does not produce birds for sale, according to the agency, and is therefore classified as a non-poultry detection.
Bans implemented to ensure that avian flu is not spread to other countries:
- The European Union will not import live birds, hatching eggs, animal products for pet food production, raw pet food, or edible chicken meat and poultry products, including eggs and processed egg products, from the Nova Scotia control zone. Thermally processed pet food (dry or canned) from the Nova Scotia control zone is not subject to any limitations.
- Until further notice, live birds, raw pet food, edible chicken meat and poultry products such as eggs originating from the control zone in Nova Scotia are prohibited, with the exception of products for human consumption that have been cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 740°C.
Live chickens and poultry products from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador are not being shipped to the Russian Federation.
- Only products from western Nova Scotia are restricted in Hong Kong.
- South Africa allows all heat-treated products from Canada to enter the country. Only chicken items processed before January 17 will be permitted into the country.
- Live poultry, chicken meat, and edible eggs from Canada are imported to South Korea.
- Philippines: live poultry from Canada, as well as poultry meat and edible eggs.
- Live chickens and poultry products from Nova Scotia are being shipped to Mexico.
- Live poultry, hatching eggs, chicken meat and meat products from Nova Scotia are exported to Japan.
- Taiwan: only the province of Nova Scotia is subject to restrictions.