Poultry Service Industry Biosecurity Guide
4. Service Sector Biosecurity Standard: A Guide to recommended best biosecurity practices
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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).
The three target outcomes are as follows:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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
- 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.
- 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.
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).
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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 2: Minimize the risk of introduction and spread of disease when transporting live birds, mortality, or manure from a poultry premises.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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 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.
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.
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.
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