USDA Issues Final Rule Amending Regulations for Importation of Poultry from Regions with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

USDA Issues Final Rule Amending Regulations for Importation of Poultry from Regions with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

Contacts:
Joelle Hayden    301-851-4040
Lyndsay Cole      970-494-4710

Washington, November 28, 2014 -- The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today issued a final rule amending its regulations for importation of poultry and poultry products from regions where highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is considered to exist.  The final rule amends the interim rule that was made effective and published in the Federal Register in 2011.

The 2011 interim rule prohibited imports of live birds, poultry and hatching eggs, as well as poultry/bird products, from any region where HPAI is considered to exist.  It also placed restrictions on imports of live birds and poultry that have been moved through regions where HPAI is considered to exist, as well as on birds and poultry that have been vaccinated for avian influenza. In addition, the interim rule updated cooking requirements to specifically include carcasses, parts, or products of poultry or other birds from regions where HPAI is considered to exist.

This final rule amends the interim rule to allow the importation of live AI-vaccinated zoological birds and poultry and the importation of HPAI-resistant pigeons, doves, and other Columbiform species under certain specific conditions to minimize disease risk.  The rule will also allow avian carcasses and products imported as trophies to move to establishments approved to treat them for HPAI. 

Avian influenza (AI), commonly known as “bird flu,” is caused by an influenza type A virus. Avian influenza viruses occur naturally in birds. Wild bird species (such as ducks, swans and geese) can carry the viruses but usually do not get sick from them. However, avian influenza in birds is very contagious and can make some domesticated birds (chickens, ducks, quail, pheasants, guinea fowl and turkeys) very sick or even cause death. HPAI virus strains are extremely infectious, usually fatal to domestic poultry and spread rapidly from flock to flock.

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