Do not buy your turkey in the United States, asks the Food Inspection Agency

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Don’t buy your turkey in the United States, asks the Food Inspection Agency

As of September, only products labeled ready-to-eat, cooked, fully cooked, or any other such expression from the United States are allowed to entry into Canada.

Despite the rising grocery bill, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is putting warns Canadians who would be tempted to buy their turkeys cheaply in the United States.

Inflation that continues to impact our grocery bills may cause Canadians living along the US border to seek a bargain for their Thanksgiving turkey says Dr Boubacar Sidibe, National Manager of the Avian Health of Aquatic Animals and Non-Traditional Species Programs Section at the Agency.

However, outbreaks of avian flu in several bordering states are forcing the Agency to ban the importation of raw poultry and poultry products from Maine, New York, x27;Washington, Michigan, Minnesota, Idaho, and North Dakota, among others.

The Agency's goal is to avoid any form of cross-contamination due to an imported product.

“The risk is not for human consumption. There is currently no evidence that poultry meat or eggs could transmit the virus. The problem is when infected poultry meat enters the food chain of susceptible species. There are so many susceptible species: domestic animals, aquatic animals…”

— Dr Boubacar Sidibe, national manager of the avian health programs section of aquatic animals and non-traditional species at Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Cross-species transmission could ultimately lead to human contamination. A cooked turkey tossed in the trash and eaten by a susceptible animal species could create serious problems, warns Dr Sidibe. We don't want that.

The presence of turkeys from certain states could also lead to outbreaks among Canadian turkey producers.

The Agency fears that Canadians will turn to the United States, as prices for food purchased in stores in August have posted the increase since August 1981, at 10.8%, according to Statistics Canada.

Thus, since September, only products bearing the label ready for consumption, cooked, fully cooked or any other such expression from the United States are permitted entry into Canada.

Raw and frozen turkey is therefore not permitted.

Canadians attempting to smuggle in the prohibited items will be confiscate their property at the border and could face fines.

Products prohibited from entry

  • Raw poultry meat (including frozen turkeys and chickens)< /li>
  • Raw table eggs
  • Egg yolks and egg whites (albumen)
  • Leftovers from meals cooked in a restaurant
  • Raw food intended for pets and raw poultry products
  • Feathers

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Permitted Products

  • Roasted, grilled or spit-roasted chicken, for retail sale
  • Chicken soup or soup mixes
  • Eggs hard boiled
  • Chicken or turkey sausages
  • Chicken or turkey deli meat
  • Chicken or turkey sandwiches, wraps or kebabs, fully cooked

Despite the presence of several outbreaks of avian flu in Canada, including in Quebec, Alberta and New Brunswick, the Agency is asking Canadians to look to the domestic market for avoid loss of control.

Canadian industries are very efficient and Canadian turkey farmers continue to meet biosecurity standards. They put in place increased precautions to avoid avian flu in their breeding. We do not anticipate any impact on the supply of turkeys for Thanksgiving, believes Dr. Sidibe.

Some provinces may be more affected by the lack of turkeys. However, frozen stocks are available and can meet demand, according to the Agency.

Les Éleveurs de dindons du Québec was unable to respond to our interview requests.

Quebec has nearly 250 turkey producers. In 2019, the industry made $79.9 million in revenue. About 16% of producers are located in Chaudière-Appalaches.

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