Poultry Service Industry Biosecurity Guide

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Prevention of disease and disease control are complex issues. The focus of the poultry service industry biosecurity standard is to provide recommendations and industry best practices for routine day-to-day proactive biosecurity. Preventing disease occurrences is far more preferable to and cost effective for the control of a disease and its associated impacts. Appendix 1 provides additional information on disease transmission and the importance of proactive biosecurity to the industry.

This guide was developed, based on a technical risk assessment and a national poultry service industry stakeholder consultation.

The technical risk assessment approach considered both the service sector and the risk of introducing and spreading disease by assessing the following elements:

  • the location within the premises of the service activity,
  • whether live birds will remain after service,
  • disease transmission risk, and
  • subsequent introduction to other premises of the service being provided.

The location and type of service activity have a significant impact on risk. For example, service providers who handle manure and mortalities have a higher potential risk of transferring disease than would an electrician who does not enter the production area and who is not servicing any other farms. On most poultry premises in Canada, live birds will remain on the premises after birds are shipped from a barn or floor of a barn. Although all-in and all-out is practised, it is usually at the floor or barn level, and thus results in a potential risk to the birds that remain on the premises in other barns or in the same barn on another floor.

Throughout the guidance document, activities have been grouped, based on potential risk for a given location and situation; for instance, when handling manure and mortalities, or after a disease alert was issued for an industry- and/or government-defined area where barns will continue in production. The potential for introducing disease could be high if biosecurity measures are not implemented. If a disease alert has been issued, the number of premises that may be infected during the initial phase of investigation is often unknown, and precautionary measures should be implemented to minimize the potential for additional disease spread.

Most often, to be effective, prevention and intervention methods should be carried out in a logical sequence. Thus, adopting one recommendation without first carrying out another may render the action unsuccessful. Service sector recommendations and producer farm-level recommendations are closely linked, and the success of one is dependent on the other.

The national poultry service industry stakeholder consultation provided a practical review of the outcome and recommendations, identification of the current state of biosecurity implementation for various types of service providers, industry best practices, and challenges for the implementation of some recommendations. These challenges include, but are not limited to, communication, confidentiality, defined responsibilities, and industry infrastructure.

2. Objective

This document has been developed to provide biosecurity recommendations and best practices for the poultry service industry. The goal is to provide service sector personnel with a set of guidelines to use, both within their own company's biosecurity protocols and in collaboration with the producer, to limit the opportunity for introducing and spreading disease. Some of the recommendations will require collaboration within the industry to define responsibilities to facilitate implementation of the biosecurity recommendation.

Textboxes are used throughout to highlight the importance of specific information such as:

  • Target outcomes;
  • Best practices;
  • Communications tips between the service personnel and producer; and,
  • Keep your distance – guidance on distance from live birds.

Biosecurity best practices are implemented across Canada, but vary between poultry service industry providers and producers. This guide will assist service providers in identifying those areas that can improve their approach to proactive biosecurity, and that will require collaboration with producers to reach biosecurity goals.

3. Roles and Responsibilities

The producer is responsible for developing and implementing a proactive farm-level biosecurity plan.

Guidance documents such as the National Avian On-Farm Biosecurity Standard and the General Producer Guide provide recommendations and best practices to proactive management of poultry health through a series of minimum procedure guidelines for biosecurity. These guidelines have been developed to assist producers in developing their premises-specific biosecurity plan.

The service sector is an integral part of the day-to-day operation of any continuum of biosecurity interventions to protect Canada's animal resource base. Communication exchange is the responsibility of both the service provider, and the individual or industry representative who is requesting, or accountable for, the provision of service. The premises-specific biosecurity protocols should be communicated either by the representative or the producer. Service sector personnel are responsible for the following:

  • Be aware of and comply with the producer site-specific biosecurity plan; if your company biosecurity standards are higher than those of the site plan, continue to practise the higher level of biosecurity.

Biosecurity Plan

  • Develop your biosecurity program, provide training to employees, and monitor for understanding and usage. This is particularly important when a producer's biosecurity plan is unavailable or is lacking critical measures.
  • Know the producer's protocols – such as leaving garbage and other disposables on-site or requiring removal from the site – which will assist in determining the necessary supplies when exiting the premises.
  • Use designated facilities (washroom and/or toilet).
  • Be aware that service providers with domestic poultry and/or pet birds are a potential risk to poultry operations. Establish a company policy to minimize the risk of introduction and spread to poultry premises that you service.

Scheduling Service Activities

  • Schedule and carry out service calls to poultry premises in a way that minimizes the risk of introducing and spreading disease. Be aware of the health status and potential risk of each poultry premises you visit by communicating with the producer before the visit and before delivering the service. Ask the producer about the current health status, disease and vaccination history, and type of production system, and about any concerns that should be considered in service scheduling.


  • Always leave information on the premises about your service activity, providing a record if a disease outbreak were to occur or if other follow-up is required. The location for this information can vary, pending the location of the service. For example, feed delivery personnel who do not have to enter the production area could leave their information in a designated mailbox. For personnel who enter the production area or restricted access zone, many producers provide a log book at the entry site. Communicate with the producer to determine the preferred location for recording your service visit.
  • Keep your own records and log book, identifying where you have been and when.


Lead by example. Encourage the uptake and implementation of biosecurity practices within industry by practising sound biosecurity.

It is recognized that some of the roles and responsibilities are dependent upon the producer communicating and on infrastructure availability. Where best practices cannot be employed it is necessary for the producer and service provider to discuss how the risks can be managed.

4. Service Sector Biosecurity Standard: A Guide to recommended best biosecurity practices

The following textbox outlines the three target outcomes and recommendations in a logical sequence for service sector personnel as they enter a premises. These recommendations are considered when a flock is healthy. Enhanced biosecurity is required when a disease alert exists or when disease has been identified (Refer to section 5 "Disease" of this guide).

Target Outcomes

The three target outcomes are as follows:

  1. Minimize the risk of introduction and/or spread of disease when entering a poultry premises and when live birds remain after service is complete. Specifically, when there has been previous contact with live birds and/or manure and/or mortalities, the following takes place:
    • Recommendations are provided for entering the premises and during activities that occur in various locations on the premises; specifically, the controlled access zone, the service area of the barn, and the restricted access zone.
  2. Minimize the risk of introduction and spread of disease when transporting live birds, mortality, or manure from a poultry premises:
    • Two of these examples identify when disease is present or suspected, emphasizing that enhanced biosecurity measures should be implemented.
  3. Minimize the risk of Introduction and spread of disease when all birds are shipped:
    • Recommendations are provided with the consideration that multiple premises may have been serviced in a 24-hour period, making it likely that birds will remain on another floor in the barn or in another barn on the same premises.

The greatest potential risk is activities that occur in the restricted access zone (RAZ), and live birds remain live after the service is completed. The highest risk to the current premises is the risk of live birds remaining. The lowest risk for service sector personnel to the next premises is when

  • all the birds will be shipped,
  • the premises will be cleaned and disinfected, and
  • there is appropriate downtime before placing birds.

Target Outcome

Target Outcome 1: Minimize the risk of introduction and/or spread of disease when entering a poultry premises and when live birds remain after the service is complete – specifically, when there has been previous contact with live birds and/or manure and/or mortalities.

A) Entering the control access zone

Considerations: Have you been in contact with live birds, mortalities, and/or manure in the last 24 hours?

Even though you may have showered and changed your clothing in the last 24 hours, there is still a moderate risk to birds that will remain, even if only entering the outside controlled access zone (CAZ) area. The risk may result from infectious material left behind in the CAZ, which the next person may bring into the production area or RAZ.

Recommended biosecurity best practices

Recommendation 1:
  • Only essential personnel, equipment, and vehicles should enter the CAZ. It is recognized that this recommendation is dependent on designated visitors parking outside of the CAZ. If the parking is within the CAZ, then all personnel (essential and non-essential) should comply with the recommended biosecurity protocols.
  • Vehicles and equipment (e.g. bird cages) that have been used to deliver services such as manure pickup and/or live bird hauling should be cleaned and disinfected after the service has been completed. Pay particular attention to cleaning the wheel, wheel wells, and undercarriage:
    • Be aware that routine cleaning is important in minimizing the buildup of organic material.
    • Clean the vehicle interior; manure may have been tracked into the vehicle interior or cab.
Recommendation 2:
  • Prior to entering the CAZ, equipment (e.g. skid-steer loader) that was previously used to load or transport fresh manure on other poultry premises should be scraped and cleaned.
Best Practices

Ideally: Equipment used to load or transport fresh manure that has been used on other poultry premises should be scraped, cleaned, and disinfected prior to entry to the CAZ. This is particularly important for premises operating under a different management program or health status (for example, species, stage of production, health status).

Recommendation 3:
  • Drivers of vehicles who enter the CAZ and who require a close proximity to the barn to deliver the service (for example, feed delivery vehicles) and/or equipment should practise the following recommendations:
    • Avoid driving near, and parking by, exhaust and inlet ducting of barns.
    • Avoid driving near barns that contain live birds.
    • Drive slowly when near the barn to minimize dust.
Keep Your Distance

Keeping vehicles 15 m or further away from barns – specifically, the inlet and exhaust ducting of barns – will reduce the risks associated with intake dust and exhaust fumes to the birds in the barns. It will also reduce the risk of potential contamination of service vehicles from exhaust fans.

Recommendation 4:
  • Service personnel should clean and disinfect footwear prior to entering the premises, and/ or wear disposable boot covers (as safety considerations allow) before entering the CAZ.

B) Entering the service area via a Controlled Access Point

Previous direct contact with live birds, mortality, or manure in the last 24 hours, without the opportunity to shower and implement proactive biosecurity measures presents a high risk to birds that will remain in a barn, even if only entering the service area (for example, egg room, feed scale area, electrical service area). The risk is due to the potential carriage of even a small amount of infective material into the RAZ through cross-contamination, hence the need for precautions to avoid introduction. If previous contact included only the service area of another barn or the CAZ, the overall risk is relatively low; however, precautions are still necessary, due to potential carriage of even a small amount of infective material.

There are some activities that may require service personnel to enter and leave the service area multiple times; for instance, loading egg trucks. For this activity the service area and CAZ may be considered the same or of equal biosecurity risk where no additional biosecurity interventions occur with movement between the two zones. It is important that service personnel check with the producer to ensure compliance to the farm biosecurity protocols. In these situations, additional precautions should be taken to minimize any potential cross-contamination between the service area and the CAZ. Some examples include, but are not limited to, changing boots, as well as cleaning and disinfecting the floor.

Recommendation 1:

The utility and design of the service room are key factors to consider when developing the biosecurity protocols – whether, for example, service providers should disinfect footwear or use disposable boot covers (as safety considerations allow) between the CAZ and service area. If the service area is the designated anteroom, changing boots, and cleaning and disinfecting, and/or applying boot covers prior to entering the RAZ or production area takes place in the service area. In contrast to a service area that is designated for egg-collecting activities, clean and disinfect boots, change to designated boots and/or apply boot covers, along with other protective clothing that may be required prior to entering the service area.

Note: Properly applied (effective volume and contact time) spray disinfection, change of boots, or change of boot covers is the preferred practice. Footbaths are not recommended due to the loss of efficacy of the disinfectant with accumulation of organic matter and risks to personal safety.

Recommendation 2:

  • Prior to entering the barn service area in facilities where birds remain alive, equipment or supplies should be new, or if not new, cleaned and disinfected prior to entering the premises, if previous contact with live birds, mortality, or manure from another poultry premises has occurred.

Recommendation 3:

  • Only enter those areas that are necessary to perform the service with the permission of the producer.
  • Be aware that entry to any other barns or structures on the premises requires the permission of the producer and possibly additional biosecurity protocols.

Some recommended best practices for exiting the service areas and/or the Controlled Access Zone (CAZ):

When exiting the CAZ or the service area, follow the higher level of biosecurity (producer's biosecurity protocols or service provider) for clothing, boots, equipment, and any additional items that may be leaving the farm.

Recommendations and Best Practices:

  • Clean and disinfect equipment. Wipe electronic equipment that is sensitive to disinfection to remove possible contamination. If possible, pending the nature of the equipment, transport to and from the vehicle in a container or tote. Cleaning and disinfection of the outer surface of the container limits the potential for contamination of the vehicle and the transfer to other premises. For heavier equipment that is delivered on trolleys, ensure the wheels are cleaned and disinfected after leaving the service area and prior to loading onto the vehicle.
  • To transport samples and other biologics, wipe the outer surface of the collection unit(s), and label and place in a container, bag, or tote that allows for the outer surface to be cleaned and disinfected.
  • For samples that are collected when disease is suspected, use a double-barrier method to contain the sample. For example, double bag, ensure both bags can be sealed securely, or single bag and seal, and then place in a container or tote that may be sealed to enable cleaning and disinfecting the outer surface.
  • Place sharps and hazards in a designated hazards container on-site. If removed off-site, use a sealed puncture and leak-proof container to allow the outer surface to be cleaned and disinfected.
  • When removing protective clothing from the site, place the coveralls and other protective clothing into a container that may be sealed. Clean and disinfect the outer surface of the container prior to placing in the vehicle.
  • Clean and disinfect boots. If a change of boots is required, and the boots will be removed off-site, place the boots in a plastic bag and then in the transfer tote. If the boots are designated to an area of the premises, clean and disinfect, and leave in the designated area.
  • Place contaminated consumable equipment, gloves, and garbage in a container that may be sealed (for example, a plastic bag or a tote). If the disposables are removed off-site, ensure the outer surface of the container is cleaned and disinfected. If the producer's protocol indicates that disposables and garbage may be left on-site, ensure that the lid of the container is closed.
  • Leave on gloves until all exit activities are completed; they are the last item to dispose of or place in the sealed container. Regardless of whether gloves are used, remove organic matter, wash hands with soap, or apply a sanitizer.
  • If no wash facilities are available on the premises, consider bringing a mixture of water and soap, and add glycol to limit freezing in the winter. If no water is available, remove organic material, and apply a hand sanitizer.

C) Entering the Restricted Access Zone

Entry into and exit from the RAZ where live birds will remain is the highest potential risk. The introduction of disease for the remaining live birds provides the potential environment for sufficient incubation time to develop infection. The chance of introduction or presence of an infectious agent is unknown in the early incubation period before clinical signs develop, or if it is an agent of low pathogenicity, there may be no signs of illness. Assume that any previous contact with live birds, mortality, manure, or a contaminated external environment could potentially result in infectious disease agents contaminating clothes, footwear, people, and/or equipment.

It is important that service personnel are aware of the producer's site-specific biosecurity plan and the areas identified as the RAZ and Control Access Points (CAPs). It is recognized that the identification of the RAZ is unique to each premises and thus may differ from premises to premises. For example, the RAZ may be delineated by a barn (Appendix 2, Concept 1) or may contain several barns and the area surrounding the barns (Appendix 2, Concept 2).

There are some service activities and situations that impact the implementation of biosecurity protocols when entering the RAZ. The following provides examples of instances when the CAZ and RAZ may be considered the same, or of equal, biosecurity risk, where no additional biosecurity interventions occur with movement between the two zones:

  • thinning a flock;
  • tilling litter or a partial cleanout of wet or caked litter;
  • placing poults or chicks;
  • moving birds from the brooder barn or area to the grow-out barn or area;
  • moving a flock from one barn to another because of equipment failure;
  • severe feed and/or water spill; and
  • barn emergencies (e.g. electrical malfunction that disables feed, water, temperature, and ventilation systems).

It is important that service personnel check with producers to ensure that they understand and use the farm and production stage-specific biosecurity protocols. In these situations, take additional precautions to minimize any potential cross-contamination between the CAZ and the RAZ.

Recommendation 1:

  • Be aware and comply with the producer site-specific biosecurity plan; if your company biosecurity standards are higher than those of the site plan, continue to practise the higher level of biosecurity.
  • Avoid common footwear contact between the CAZ and the RAZ (for example, change boots, clean and disinfect footwear, and/or apply disposable plastic boot covers). When only one zone has been established on-site, there should be no common contact between this zone and the external environment.
  • Remove organic matter, wash hands with soap, or apply a hand sanitizer. If no wash facilities are available on the premises, consider bringing a mixture of water and soap, and add glycol to limit freezing in the winter. If no water is available, remove organic material, and apply a hand sanitizer prior to entering the RAZ.
  • Wear appropriate protective clothing, which has not been worn on another premises in the barn and while handling birds. Protective clothing includes, but is not limited to, clean, disposable, or barn-designated coveralls, boots, gloves, and hairnets or hooded coveralls.
  • Have service personnel sign the visitor logbook.
Best Practices

Ideally: In an all-in and all-out approach, it is always a recommended best practice to wear clean footwear and clothes that have not been worn in contact with live birds, manure or mortalities, even when no live birds will remain on the premises. If the all-in and all-out approach is limited to the barn floor or barn and birds will remain on the premises in other barns, it is highly a highly recommended best practice.

When an anteroom is available:

In an ideal situation, the anteroom is separated in two (by a line or physical barrier such as a bench or a door) with the first area (near the outside door) considered "contaminated" and the area closest to the door, providing access to the birds, considered "clean" or not contaminated.

Have service personnel clean and disinfect footwear, or if using boot covers, put on a clean pair over the existing pair that was used to cross through the CAZ, or don premises-specific designated boots as they step into the clean area. Hang up any outerwear such as a coat prior to entering the clean area. Place coveralls in the clean area to avoid contamination. To maintain the integrity of the two areas, ensure that boots and clothing that were in the contaminated area have no contact with the clean area; likewise, designated boots, plastic boots, and coveralls have no contact with the contaminated area. Further, contact between personal shoes and designated boots should be avoided. Be aware that there are various designs and protocols for anterooms.

When an anteroom is not available, and parking is in close proximity to the production area (that is, barn door, shed entrance, or poultry run), and the producer has not identified or designated the CAZ and RAZ and corresponding biosecurity protocols:

The service provider creates a clean area and visual delineation by marking an area outside of the barn door, shed, or run to facilitate the creation of a designated clean area. From the vehicle, wear clean and disinfected boots, or new boots and/or boot covers to the line of demarcation. Clean and disinfect boots or apply another set of boot covers, don clean coveralls and other protective clothing, if indicated, and step into the production area.

Recommendation 2:

  • Clean equipment or supplies that enter the RAZ, or provide new with no previous contact with poultry or manure. Equipment that has been in previous contact with live birds, mortalities, or manure should be cleaned and disinfected after use at the previous premises, and the producer may request additional measures prior to entry to the premises and into the RAZ where birds remain alive.
    • This includes small tools and equipment such as crates, pullet buggies, catching fences, or vaccination equipment in contact with birds that will remain alive.
  • Ensure that incoming products (for example, feed, chicks, spiking birds, litter, etc.) originate from a source that operates under a quality assurance program that may be validated such as a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) based system or FeedAssure™ Program, or have been certified free of diseases of concern prior to delivery to the premises.

When exiting the RAZ, refer to the recommendations and best practices that are identified when exiting the CAZ or service area (following Section B: Entering the service area and Recommendation 3). This includes an available anteroom or a clean area that has been created to facilitate proactive biosecurity activities.

Target Outcome

Target Outcome 2: Minimize the risk of introduction and spread of disease when transporting live birds, mortality, or manure from a poultry premises.

Transportation Services

Recommendation 1:

When scheduling transportation activities, carry out the following:

  • Base the logistical flow between farms on stage of production, type of production system, and health and vaccination status.
  • Identify and service first those barns, premises, and/or regions that are free of disease, have no recent history of suspect disease, and that have implemented a proactive biosecurity program.
  • Have the processor contact the producer, and determine whether changes in transportation scheduling are required, if any of the following are identified on the flock sheet:
    • increase in mortalities
    • decrease in feed and water consumption
    • increase or change of medication or treatment regime

Achieving the recommendations when scheduling transportation logistics requires producer input, the service provider client lists, and the sequence of transportation activities. Industry collaboration is necessary to establish a mechanism that will facilitate the transfer of information and validation when necessary.

  • In addition to established communication channels to schedule routine services, communication is necessary when a change in health status occurs to facilitate transportation scheduling changes. It is important that the producer and service providers develop a communication strategy that will result in timely transfer of information to facilitate changes in scheduling.
  • For diseases that are not provincially or federally notifiable or reportable, a producer must self-identify when disease occurs to assist the service provider in scheduling activities.
Recommendation 2:
  • Transport manure in solid-bottom vehicles, spreaders, or trailers, which are leak-proof, covered, and not overloaded to reduce spillage.
  • Scrape manure spillage from roadways, laneways, and any other drive surfaces.
Recommendation 3:

Assume mortalities are infectious.

  • Implement biosecurity measures to minimize the risk of transferring infective material from the point of collection.
  • Ensure that rendering vehicles have sealed, lined, or leak-proof containers to avoid spillage.
  • Designate a mortality pick-up point for rendering service that is external to the CAZ, where physically possible.
  • Properly design any intervening mortality assembling, handling, or storage area with full capacity to contain the carcasses, and to cover and protect them from scavenging animals and insects.
  • Contain the carcasses from the initial mortality collection through to disposal. This applies to all on-site disposal methods, including rendering and on-site composting.
Recommendation 4:
  • Pre-plan routing of vehicles that are loaded with live birds, manure, and/or mortalities to maximize the distance between other poultry barns in production.
Keep your Distance

When departing the premises and travelling to the final destination, keeping vehicles 30 m or further away from the inlets of barns in production reduces the risks associated with intake of potential pathogens to the birds in the barns.

  • Ensure that all methods of manure and mortality handling, storage, transport spreading, and/or disposal meet the requirements of federal, provincial, and municipality legislations, regulations, and bylaws.
Target Outcome

Target Outcome 3: Minimize the risk of introduction and spread of disease when shipping birds.

Shipping all birds

When service personnel perform activities that include shipping all birds of a barn to slaughter (e.g. catching crews), and no disease is suspected and no alert situation exists, there is a lower risk of disease transmission to the birds that remain live in other barns on the same premises and to subsequent premises for which the service personnel may provide service within the next 24 hours.


Service personnel should

  • avoid entering any other barn or structure on the property, except where the service is provided. Designated washroom facilities that are located in another structure or barn may require additional biosecurity protocols.
  • respect and comply with additional biosecurity measures that the producer may require.
  • prior to entry, change footwear and clothing that previously has been in contact with birds and/or manure. It is recommended that clean footwear be worn. If clean footwear is unavailable, remove the organic material from footwear and spray with a disinfectant.
  • place, in a container, any footwear and clothing that has been in contact with live birds, manure, and/or mortalities, and that is designated for removal off-site. This container should be sealed and have the outer surface cleaned and disinfected (for example, a plastic garbage bag or tote).
  • change footwear and clothing that has previously been in contact with birds and/or manure when multiple premises are being serviced by the same catching crew. It is recommended that clean footwear be worn. If clean footwear is unavailable, remove the organic material from footwear and spray with a disinfectant.
  • Clean the interior of crew vehicles at the end of the shift or prior to picking up crew members.

Site Exit:

Consider the level of potential contamination when leaving the farm, how it may be transferred by you, your equipment, and your vehicle, and where you are about to go next:

  • Refer to the recommendations described in exiting the CAZ or service area.
  • Prior to getting into your vehicle, check to ensure your footwear is clean of organic material.
  • Clean and sanitize your hands after placing equipment in the vehicle and prior to starting your vehicle.
  • Record and log your activities for your service records.
Best Practices

Avoid Contaminating Your Personal Vehicle: Ideally, contaminated clothing and footwear should remain on-site for transfer in a clean and disinfected container during transport (to the vehicle, within the vehicle, and from the vehicle to final destination). Service personnel should remove organic material from footwear and hands prior to leaving the premises. It is a best practice to wash with soap and water or apply a hand sanitizer. If handwashing facilities are unavailable at the premises or at a location before you get into your personal vehicle, consider bringing a mixture of water and soap, and your own sanitizer. Glycol may be added to the soap and water mixture to limit freezing in the winter.

5. Disease

A) A disease alert in your delivery area

Considerations: Have you serviced other premises in the alert area? Where are you going after your service is complete? Are you keeping a log of locations and activities?

  • When an alert situation exists, schedule only essential services.
  • Only go where necessary. In an alert situation one of the most important factors in the spread of disease is people. Proactive biosecurity considerations include clean and disinfected boots, premises-designated boots, boot covers, or new boots, clean coveralls, or premises-designated coveralls.
  • Remove organic material from boots to ensure that an effective cleaning and disinfection is possible.
  • Remove organic materials from hands, wash with soap, or apply sanitizer. If no wash facilities are available on the premises, consider bringing a mixture of water and soap, as well as a hand sanitizer. Add glycol to limit freezing in the winter.
  • If providing services in an area where a disease alert exists, clean and disinfect the vehicle's wheel wells and undercarriage "as far as practicable" prior to entry (for example, at the slaughter plant) and exiting premises. Environmental conditions, location of cleaning, drainage and collection of effluent, corrosive nature, and the effectiveness of the disinfectant are factors that impact practicality.
  • Be aware that producers may request additional cleaning and disinfection of vehicles and equipment prior to entry into the premises, as well as on exit. Communicate with the producer to identify where cleaning and disinfection should occur on the premises, the recommended protocol, and the supplies available. Appendix 3 provides additional information on cleaning and disinfection of vehicles and equipment.

B) Next steps, if disease identified

Be aware of the health status and the potential risk posed by the poultry premises through communication with the producer or farm manager. Ask the producer whether the current status, disease, and vaccination history, production system consideration, or any other concerns should be considered in service scheduling. Scheduling service calls should take place in poultry premises with healthy or most vulnerable birds prior to visiting those premises with potentially harbouring disease agents. Work with the producer to consider these factors when developing service scheduling.

Service providers may be requested to provide services on a known infected premises.

  • If disease is suspected, take extra precautions. Recognize that enhanced biosecurity protocols will be required. Initiate a Disease Response Plan. Take the time to ask the questions to validate the situation. To minimize the risk of spread, more time and effort is required for cleaning, disinfection, and containment efforts when moving off the potentially infected premises.
  • When there has been a confirmed or suspicion of disease in a barn, validate, with the producer, that the manure has been aged (piled and stored longer than 14 days) or heat treated (direct heat or via composting) prior to transportation or spreading off the premises.
  • If a disease has occurred, be aware that spillage or wind carriage of potentially contaminated material during transport of large loads of live birds, mortality, or manure is a significant risk to surrounding poultry facilities. It is critical to know the disease status of the barn prior to transportation.
  • For unknown or sub-clinical situations, take these precautions:
  • Take steps to reduce the possibility of spillage:
    • Avoid overloading the vehicles.
    • Use tarps or netting.
  • When live birds remain on a premises, proper scheduling and routing of loaded vehicles (whether loading, unloading, cleanout, or manure-spreading activities) facilitates the following:
    • segregating or isolating from barns that are housing birds through distance or timing
    • regulating traffic flow within and between premises
    • reducing proximity risks between barns

6. Glossary

Adequate level of biosecurity:
The service personnel must comply with the biosecurity protocols provided by the producer or farm manager. Service providers are responsible for determining what they believe are appropriate biosecurity activities, based on the risk of transmission to and between poultry premises. The level of biosecurity practised is determined by a complex interaction of numerous factors such as the health status of the flocks on the premises; the service activity to be performed; the risk of contact with live birds, manure, and mortality; and the health status of neighbouring flocks and previous flocks visited. .
Alert situation:
A condition or period when a poultry disease concern has been identified or is suspected in the poultry sector and which requires heightened service provider awareness and elevated levels of biosecurity for an industry and/or government-defined area..
Any part of a premises where poultry are kept, not enclosed by a barn but may or may not be enclosed by other physical structures; for example, an open shed or run.
Any structure that encloses poultry.
May be defined as a set of practices used to minimize the transmission of pathogens and pests into, within, and from livestock, poultry, and plant populations.
Free of any visible accumulation of organic matter and debris or other residues.
Controlled access point (CAP):
A visually defined entry point(s) through which all traffic – such as workers, equipment, feed trucks – enter the controlled access zone (CAZ) and/or the restricted access zone (RAZ). To carry out specific activities such as catching birds, other points of entry may be used.
Controlled access zone (CAZ):
The area of land and buildings constituting the poultry-production area of the premises, including where equipment related to production is stored. It excludes any residences and any other buildings that are not directly related to poultry production (for example, machine sheds, storage sheds, workshops) The CAZ is accessible through a securable CAP.
The passage of pathogens indirectly from a person to one point and mechanically transmitted to another point by another person or via fomites, such as clothing, footwear, hair, equipment, etc..
Direct contact:
Close physical contact between animals and people, and includes including aerosols.
DiseaseFootnote 1:
Any deviation from, or interruption of, the normal structure or function of any body part, organ, or system that is manifested by a characteristic set of symptoms and signs and whose etiology, pathology, and prognosis may be known or unknown.
Disease response plan:
A predetermined set of steps that is followed in the case of significant disease occurrence. This response may be at the premises level by the production people, at the regional level or provincial level by industry or provincial ministry, or at the national level for a reportable disease.
The application of a physical or chemical process to a surface for the purpose of destroying or inhibiting the activity of disease-causing micro-organisms.
A period between flocks, starting with a barn or flock area being emptied of birds and ending with the placement of new birds. It allows for the natural reduction in numbers of disease-causing micro-organisms within the barn or flock area. Cleaning and disinfection should occur as soon as possible after shipping. The effective period can be reduced by cleaning and disinfecting at the beginning of the period. The recommended downtime in the literature is usually 14 days.
Enhanced biosecurity:
At times when a disease outbreak is suspected on the premises or has been identified in the vicinity, extra biosecurity measures may be required and increased emphasis placed on existing biosecurity measures.
Essential personnel:
Any persons who are required to enter the RAZ, other than personnel who are concerned with day-to-day poultry production on the premises. Service personnel include veterinarians, service and delivery people, suppliers, and regulators.
Essential vehicle:
A vehicle that must enter the CAZ to perform a specific service (for example, egg pickup, feed delivery, bird transport).
Fomites or mechanical vector:
Inanimate object or material on which disease-causing agents may be conveyed; for instance, farm equipment, people, insects, footwear, and rodents.
Indirect contact:
A secondary contact between animals and people via an inanimate object on which disease may be carried or transferred.
Infectious disease agents:
A disease caused by the entrance into the body of organisms (as bacteria, protozoans, fungi, or viruses) which grow and multiply.
Mechanical transmission:
A form of disease transmission in which the agent is carried by a vector or fomites, yet is not infected, in that tissues are not invaded and the agent does not multiply.
Most vulnerable:
Animals that have the greatest risk for contracting and developing disease from an infectious pathogen or pest. This includes young birds, and recently ill, infected, or medically treated animals, or any animal susceptible to the disease in question.
Non-essential personnel:
People and their equipment that do not require access to the CAZ and the RAZ. These include, but are not limited to, neighbours, guests, friends, and family.
Fungus, insect, nematode, rodent, weed, or other form of terrestrial or aquatic life form that may harm humans or have a negative impact on farm animal health, or that interferes with economic activities such as agriculture.
All birds reared or kept in captivity. Including, but not limited to, birds kept for breeding, the production of eggs or meat for consumption, for production of other commercial products, for restocking supplies of game birds, or for breeding these categories of birds.
Premises (facility):
A parcel of land with continuous property boundary and defined by a legal description or, in its absence, by georeferenced coordinates, on which, or on any part of which, poultry are grown, kept, assembled, or disposed of.
Reportable disease:
A disease that must be immediately reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The disease may be exotic or domestic or, in some cases, mandated by the province as reportable.
Restricted access zone (RAZ):
An area inside the CAZ that is used, or intended to be used, to house poultry, including semi-confined and range production and where personnel and equipment access is more restricted than that of the CAZ. Within the RAZ, the unrestricted movement of people, birds, and equipment may occur. The RAZ is sometimes referred to as the "production area" or "restricted area" (RA) in other poultry production documents and guides.
Sanitation often refers to general procedures used to clean hands and inanimate objects to reduce microbial load. Sanitize is often used to distinguish a level of cleaning and decontamination that is less than disinfection. It is a process used to reduce or inactivate pathogens to a level that is considered safe for everyday use or exposure.
Service area:
An Area within a poultry production building that separates the CAZ from the RAZ. Some examples of operations in the service may include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • anteroom: location for people who work on the premises to perform boot and clothing changes, handwashing, or other personal duties (may also be considered a transition room and part of the RAZ)
  • tool storage
  • electric paneling
  • dry storage
  • egg-collection activities
Service sector:
Personnel who perform activities on a premises, other than the producer, and routine staff for day-to-day operational activities. This includes, but is not limited to, utility companies, catching crews, feed companies and distributors, animal health professionals, inspectors, etc.
Storage (carcasses):
Temporary placement of bird carcasses into a sealable leak-proof container until disposal.
Target outcome:
The goal that all service sector personnel (and producers), regardless of the size of flock and type of production, should aim for to protect their flocks and livelihood from the introduction and spread of avian diseases.

Appendix 1

1. Background

Biosecurity is a general description for a set of measures designed to protect Canada's animal resources from foreign and established infectious disease agents and pests at the national, regional, and premises' levels. Clearly, no single biosecurity measure provides an answer to preventing all diseases. However, implementing an integrated program of related precautionary measures can minimize the introduction and spread of disease and pests.

1.1. Impact of Disease

The presence of disease has a negative impact on overall productivity, resulting in economic losses for the producer, service sector, national industry, and potentially the agricultural gross domestic product (GDP) of Canada.

1.2. Disease transmission

Many factors influence the ability or risk of disease spread among animal populations, due to the complex interactions between animals, humans, pathogenic organisms, and their environment.

The movement of animals that are

  • clinically ill,
  • sub-clinically infected,
  • stressed,
  • recently vaccinated with a modified live vaccine, or
  • recently recovered

have the greatest risk for transmitting disease. The contamination of fomites (for example, soil, objects, footwear, and clothing) by the secretions and excretions of these animals also pose a potential risk.

The risk of disease transmission is directly related to contact with the disease agent (direct or indirect) and subsequent contacts with poultry or poultry housing. In most instances, the job or service performed does not matter, only the potential contact with, and transmission of, the agent to another susceptible host that is capable of incubating the agent. The precautions taken to minimize the risk of introduction and spread of a disease agent are in response to this sequence of events. It is unrealistic to believe that we can prevent the risks in all cases. There have been efforts to identify those interventions that are truly effective and have a good impact on risk reduction. Some level of risk will always remain.

Visitors, including service sector staff members who come into contact with poultry and their environs, may mechanically transmit disease on contaminated footwear, clothing, hands, hair, equipment, and vehicles. Therefore, service sector staff who are visiting premises should always assume disease agents are present, be aware of the risk they pose for transmitting disease, and take appropriate precautions.

1.3. Why biosecurity is important

Maintenance of the highest possible animal health status is vitally important to the sustainability and profitability of the agricultural sector in Canada. Future access to domestic markets will increasingly depend on our ability to demonstrate freedom from serious animal diseases and pests. Biosecurity standards will play an increasing role in meeting processor requirements, quality assurance programs, and in retaining market access and competitiveness. There is an increasing trend to ensure health certification as an indicator of quality assurance and biosecurity in purchasing and moving live animals. Consumers today have access to a wide variety of information. They have specific expectations for acceptability of products, as well as for welfare and biosecurity in the production of animals.

Foreign animal diseases (FADs) that may be introduced and become production-limiting diseases – commonly found in parts of Canada – can spread from farm to farm and result in animal sickness, death, and economic loss. To implement sound biosecurity practices at the premises, and at regional and national levels is the best defence against disease.

Implementing an effective biosecurity plan can help

  • improve or maintain animal health, welfare, and productivity;
  • positively impact quality and food safety of end product;
  • reduce the risk of the introduction and spread of endemic and foreign diseases;
  • protect human health;
  • minimize the potential for costs and revenue losses;
  • reduce antimicrobial use and support prudent use;
  • protect the ability to move animals;
  • protect service industries (for example, feed suppliers);
  • protect export markets; and
  • assist in domestic marketing.

Appendix 2: Examples of conceptual farm layouts

Concept 1: One controlled access zone with multiple restricted access zones
Concept 1: One controlled access zone with multiple restricted access zones. Description follows.

CAP = controlled access point, CAZ = controlled access zone, RAZ = restricted access zone

A larger and more complicated site may contain multiple barns, along with equipment and storage buildings. There is a separate RAZ and CAP for each barn. Transition areas within the barn allow personnel to apply appropriate sanitary measures. One CAP provides access to the single CAZ. Parking is established outside the CAZ to reduce unnecessary traffic movements within the CAZ.

Concept 2: One controlled access zone with a restricted access zone, containing multiple buildings and/or ranges
Concept 2: One controlled access zone with a restricted access zone, containing multiple buildings and/or ranges. Description follows.

CAP = controlled access point, CAZ = controlled access zone, RAZ = restricted access zone

A more complex site may contain multiple barns and/or ranges, along with equipment and storage buildings. One RAZ, such as this, is not ideal for disease control; however, if the operation includes common equipment and personnel who are moving unrestricted between buildings, one RAZ, including all buildings and the area inside in which unrestricted movement occurs, may be the only alternative. In this setup, control of disease spread into and out of the complex is less effective than if each barn was a separate RAZ. Further, there is no control of disease spread between the barns. All barns would be of equal biosecurity status (that is, as if they were all one barn). Entry into the RAZ is controlled by a CAP. This could be an anteroom set up for personnel with cleaning and disinfecting capabilities for larger equipment. One CAP provides access to the single CAZ. Parking is established outside the CAZ to reduce unnecessary traffic movements within the CAZ.

Appendix 3: Cleaning and Disinfection

The cleaning and disinfection process for vehicles and equipment used on poultry premises comprises six steps.

  1. Dry cleaning
  2. Wet cleaning
  3. Rinsing
  4. Drying
  5. Disinfection
  6. Weathering

Step 1: Dry cleaning

Remove large accumulations of organic debris from all surfaces of equipment and vehicles (including the vehicle's undercarriage and interior) with brushes and/or scrapers, or other tools.

Step 2: Wet cleaning

Select a location with the following characteristics:

  • supply of hot water and electricity;
  • hard surface (concrete, asphalt, gravel);
  • appropriate distance from environmentally sensitive areas (for example, streams, aquifers, animal habitat, storm sewers); or
  • area for wash water and disinfectants that can be discharged to an appropriate collection system.

Using low pressure, thoroughly wet the undercarriage and other more heavily soiled areas of vehicles and equipment with a solution of hot water and a detergent. (Dish detergent is suitable.) Wash the vehicles and equipment from the top down until the surfaces are visibly clean. When cleaning the lower portions of vehicles and equipment, ensure debris and material from these surfaces or ground is not re-deposited on the surfaces.

Note: Soaking the surfaces with hot water and detergent reduces the time and effort required for cleaning and inactivates some bacterial and viral pathogens.

Inclement weather:

Wet cleaning and disinfection is best performed in a building or shed to prevent freezing of surfaces, pumps, water lines, etc. Alternatively, temporary shelters can be erected and supplemental heat provided, using portable heaters; ensure gas-fuelled heaters are properly vented.

Add propylene glycol to pressure washers to prevent freezing of solutions: the volume of propylene glycol required depends on the temperature.

Best Practices

Avoid using Ethylene Glycol (antifreeze).

It is highly toxic to animals.

Step 3: Rinsing

Rinse the surfaces with water to remove any remaining detergent and debris. Use low to medium pressure at this time. Rinse surfaces from the top down. Move the vehicle and equipment ahead to a dry area.

Step 4: Drying

Allow all surfaces to thoroughly dry. Supplemental heat may be required in cold and/or wet weather.

Step 5: Disinfection

Select, mix, and apply disinfectants according to the manufacturer's recommendations on the label. It is important that the appropriate concentration and contact time are observed in addition to other factors. (Refer to the information on "Selecting a Disinfectant," provided below.)

Many disinfectants can be applied using a hand-operated orchard sprayer or pressure washer. Apply the disinfectant from the bottom up. Ensure the surfaces are visibly wet to the point of run-off of the disinfectant. The disinfectant may need to be reapplied as the surfaces must remain wet during the required contact time that is listed on the disinfectant label.

Note: The effectiveness of disinfectants is reduced in the presence of soil and other organic debris, and surfaces must be visibly clean prior to application.

Inclement Weather:

The effectiveness of disinfectants is reduced in cold weather, as the chemical reactions that are required slow down and, consequently, some disinfectants cannot achieve a sufficient enough "kill" of the pathogens. A decrease in disinfectant activity will be noted, even when temperatures drop below 15°C. When the temperatures are between 0°C and 5°C, increase the concentration and contact time. In general, by doubling the recommended concentration of disinfectant and extending the contact time to 1 hour, reapplying the disinfectant and keeping the surfaces of the equipment damp, the necessary reduction in pathogens can be achieved for some products (for example, bleach has been tested).

Note: It is important to contact the manufacturer of the disinfectant for directions on using their products in these conditions.

Use propylene glycol to prevent freezing of disinfectant solutions, as described under "Wet cleaning."

When applying a disinfectant in rainy weather, reapply the disinfectant during the contact period as the solution becomes diluted and is removed from the surfaces by rainwater. Apply disinfectant in a covered area or building.

Wear appropriate safety equipment when mixing and applying disinfectants; they may be hazardous in both concentrated and diluted forms. Gloves and goggles are recommended. Extra care is required when applying disinfectant in windy conditions.

After they have been mixed, many disinfectants in solution degrade rapidly, and fresh solutions should be mixed on a weekly basis. Contact the disinfectant manufacturer for advice regarding the appropriate time frame.

Disinfectants – Product regulation

Health Canada regulates the registration of disinfectants in Canada and provides a drug identification number (DIN) prior to their marketing; this number is listed on the disinfectant container.

Selecting a disinfectant

Disinfectants are evaluated by Health Canada, using strict criteria; however, efficacy is determined under controlled laboratory conditions, and using disinfectants on-farm requires that they be used according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Disinfectant selection is based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the following:

  • the chemical properties of the disinfectant, presence of other chemicals (soaps/detergents), and cleanliness of the surfaces to be disinfected;
  • the type(s) of organism targeted;
  • composition (wood, metal, rubber etc.) of surface to be disinfected;
  • temperature of surfaces and temperature of disinfectant;
  • method of application – contact time and concentration; and
  • characteristics of water used.

There are many factors that may affect the ability of a disinfectant to perform as indicated by the manufacturer. Choose broad spectrum registered disinfectants (DIN) with minimal toxicity, which are easy to apply and are effective under a variety of environmental conditions.

Step 6: Weathering

Weathering refers to the processes that follow the application of a disinfectant. After observing the applicable contact time, follow the manufacturer's recommendations on whether to rinse-off. It is advisable to allow surfaces to dry before using the equipment and/or vehicle for another task. Park vehicles and equipment in a clean and sunny location to take advantage of the disinfecting properties of sunlight.

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