Cross-border grocery shoppers might get a surprise on the way back — raw poultry and egg products produced in Michigan and 20 other states can’t be brought into the country due to the threat of avian influenza.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says that all poultry products and byproducts that are not fully cooked and canned or hermetically sealed that were sourced, processed or packaged in certain U.S. states are not allowed to enter the country.
“These measures are being taken to prevent the introduction of avian influenza into Canada,” the CFIA stated in a notice posted online earlier this month.
According to the CFIA, there is no concern around food safety. The agency says there is no evidence that consuming cooked chicken or eggs could transmit bird flu to humans.
The ban includes eggs and raw pet food, and there is also a ban on the importation of live birds and hatching eggs from the affected states.
“If the product is not labelled with the state of origin by the manufacturer, the product may be denied entry,” the CFIA stated.
The restrictions apply to all travellers and importers of commercial goods.
The policy is in place amid cases of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) among birds in Canada and the U.S.
The rules apply to products from 21 states, including several along the U.S.-Canada border such as Michigan, New York and Washington, which have experienced avian flu outbreaks.
The ban is in effect until further notice, the CFIA says. The full list of states on the restricted list is available here.
Eggs a bargain in Michigan, cross-border shopper says
The policy means cross-border shoppers like Wyse Jamali will have to source his poultry closer to home.
He was unaware of the new rules when he crossed the border back into Windsor, Ont., recently with some chicken breasts and eggs. He said he was not stopped by border officials, even though he declared the goods.
Jamali said he spends about $1.80 on 18 eggs in Michigan, compared to about $4 in Canada.
For now, he’ll be turning to local retailers, while still trying to get a good deal.
“I gotta find out where the sale is and head toward there,” he said.