Chapter 9 - Emergency Situations
9.8 Generic Policy for the Movement of Poultry and Poultry Products Processed in a Federally Registered Establishment Within the Confines of an Identified Area: Consequence of an Outbreak of Notifiable Avian Influenza (NAI) as Defined by the World Organization for Animal Health (e.g., H5/H7)

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9.8.1 Background

In an international poultry disease control context, NAI viruses are defined by the OIE, whose definitions have been adopted by the CFIA as follows:

NAI is an infection of poultry caused by any Influenza Type A virus of the H5 or H7 subtypes, or by any AI virus with an intravenous pathogenicity index (IVPI) greater than 1.2 or killing at least 75 percent of the inoculated chickens. NAI viruses can be divided into highly pathogenic notifiable avian influenza (HPNAI) viruses and low pathogenicity notifiable avian influenza (LPNAI) viruses.

HPNAI viruses have an IVPI in six-week-old chickens greater than 1.2 or, as an alternative, cause at least 75% mortality in four- to eight-week-old chickens infected intravenously. H5 and H7 viruses that do not have an IVPI greater than 1.2, or that cause less than 75% mortality in an intravenous lethality test, should be sequenced to determine whether multiple basic amino acids are present at the cleavage site of the HA. If the amino acid motif is similar to that observed for other tested HPNAI viruses, the isolate should be considered to be HPNAI.

LPNAI viruses are all Influenza Type A viruses of the H5 and H7 subtypes that are not HPNAI. In Canada, NAI includes both HPAI and LPAI subtypes, H5 and H7 and is reportable as per the Reportable Disease Regulations.

The minimum criteria for identifying NAI-infected flocks is detecting H5 or H7 subtypes, as determined by RRT-PCR, though the disease control activities related to the case definition may evolve in the course of an outbreak.

As a consequence of the diagnosis of NAI in any region of Canada, the disease control measures that will be implemented will impact the movement of poultry and poultry products produced in the affected province.

Various trading partners will impose restrictions on exports of Canadian poultry products and more specifically from any province in which a diagnosis of NAI has occurred.

Registered processing establishments within such province will be allowed to continue to operate according to an established protocol that meets Animal Health, Meat Hygiene and Egg Program requirements to segregate and control the movement of poultry and poultry products, as well as trading partners' requirements.

For information on emergency equipment and supplies required to be on hand at poultry abattoirs please refer to Annex B.

9.8.2 Diagnosis of HPAI Virus in Domestic Poultry

Please refer to NAI HSP Section 3 (Authorities and Principles of Control) and Section 4 (Procedures and Rationale for NAI Response) - (Internal access only) for detailed information.

  • An Infected Zone is established around the infected premises. The outer limit of the region will be a minimum of 3 km from the infected place. The maximum distance is based on density and proximity of other poultry operations and natural environmental features such as roads or rivers. All premises within that region will be quarantined and movement of all flocks and products within the 3 km region will be affected.
  • A Restricted Zone beyond the Infected Zone is established, that extends approximately 7 km around from the Infected Zone. The outer limit of this zone will be approximately 10 km from the infected premises. The exact distance will be determined by density and proximity of other poultry and natural environmental features such as roads, mountains, rivers, etc.
  • A Control Area (CA), established by the Minister, is a large, defined geographical area that encompasses any and all Infected and Restricted Zones surrounded by a Security Zone.
  • All commercial birds and products still on farm (including eggs) within 1 km of the infected premise will be ordered destroyed on-site. Surveillance will occur in all the zones. Samples of live birds will be submitted from those flocks to an approved laboratory for diagnostic testing. Commercial birds are defined as poultry raised under the Canadian supply manage system (quota) or raised for the purpose of selling their products or by-products for financial gain outside the quota system. Poultry raised on a premise with 300 or more domestic birds, even if there is no commercial activity, will be considered as commercial when it comes to disease control activities. Non-commercial poultry includes poultry either kept as pets, including show birds and rare breeds, and poultry raised only for the owner's own consumption or use.
  • Restrictions on the remaining flocks in the 3 km Infected Zone may be modified after obtaining a negative result to a statistically valid sampling from poultry on each premise, 21 days after the detection of the virus in the infected premises.
  • Live birds will not be allowed to move out of the CA while it is in effect.
  • Once negative testing is confirmed, the healthy birds and/or eggs from healthy birds (with supportive negative tests for NAI) from the remainder of the flocks in the 3 km zone will be allowed, under CFIA issued general permits for flocks in the Security Zone and specific permits for flocks with supportive negative tests in the Restricted Zone, to proceed to slaughter and/or egg grading stations and/or processed egg plants and/or hatcheries within the CA.
  • Healthy birds and/or eggs from healthy birds from within the CA (excluding the Infected Zone) will be allowed, under CFIA issued general permit for flocks in the Security Zone and specific permits for flocks with supportive negative tests in the Restricted Zone, to proceed to slaughter and/or egg grading stations and/or processed egg plants and/or hatcheries within the CA.
  • Live birds and/or eggs from outside the CA, will be allowed, under CFIA issued general permits, to move into the CA and proceed to slaughter and/or egg grading stations and/or processed egg plants and/or hatcheries within the CA and/or to a production barn. The birds assume the status of the Zone and are subjected to all testing requirements of the zone for further movement of birds/product.
  • Healthy live birds and/or egg products from healthy birds from flocks in the Restricted Zone require supportive negative testing and specific permits to be allowed to be transported to slaughter facilities within the Security Region. If approved, they will be considered safe for human consumption as per Health Canada guidelines.
  • Healthy live birds and/or eggs from healthy birds from flocks in the Security Zone will be processed and inspected within the Security Zone through normal procedures. If approved, they will be considered safe for human consumption as per Health Canada guidelines. A CFIA issued general permit is required to move the poultry products out of the CA.
  • General Permits are issued from CFIA Headquarters, and give overall permission to move specific products into, within and out of the CA and specific birds within the CA. For instance a general permit will be required for the movement of slaughter birds within the Security Zone to a slaughter plant within the Security Zone. Also a general permit will be issued to allow poultry products produced within the Security Zone to be shipped to registered establishments and retail outside of the CA. The general permit does not accompany each shipment but should be on file in the producing and/or storage registered establishment within the CA.
  • Export of poultry meat products and/or eggs from birds originating from a CA (including fully cooked and/or pasteurized eggs) or processed in the CA is at the commercial risk of the exporter.
  • Meat products from healthy birds and/or eggs from birds originating from a CA can be shipped and allowed entry into other registered abattoirs or processing establishments within Canada (under CFIA general permits) provided the identity and origin of fresh/frozen poultry product and/or eggs is maintained throughout the process and the product is segregated to ensure that poultry products originating from this plant meet the requirements of importing countries. See export market access below at 9.8.4.
  • Meat products processed prior to the identification of HPNAI from birds originating from flocks within the potential CA either in an abattoir or within a storage can be shipped and allowed entry into other registered abattoirs or processing establishments (under CFIA general permits) provided the identity and origin of fresh/frozen poultry product and/or eggs is maintained and there is segregation of this product (i.e. can be distinguished from other Canadian products) throughout the process to ensure that poultry products originating from these products meet the requirements of importing countries. (See export market access and marking requirements in sections 9.8.4 and 9.8.5 and an example of the identification mark in Annex A.)

Please refer to Appendix M of the Notifiable Avian Influenza Hazard Specific Plan - (Internal access only) for the detailed requirements for the movement of poultry and poultry products within, out of, and in-transit through the CA during a NAI outbreak.

9.8.3 Diagnosis of Low Pathogenicity H5/H7 Avian Influenza Virus in Domestic Poultry

Please refer to NAI HSP Section 3 (Authorities and Principles of Control) and Section 4 (Procedures and Rationale for NAI Response) - (Internal access only) for detailed information.

  • Infected premises will be placed under quarantine and depopulated on-site.
  • An Infected Region may be or may not be established around infected premises depending on the epidemiological circumstances of the Avian Influenza outbreak. The size of the area considered potentially infected will vary from 1 km to 3 km, and will be determined by Animal Health. All commercial poultry premises within the area identified by Animal Health will be placed under quarantine. All premises linked epidemiologically to an infected premise will also be placed under quarantine.
  • There would not be a CA declared by the Minister unless there is evidence that the disease infection is wide spread.
  • Healthy birds and/or eggs (with supportive negative tests) within the Infected Region will be allowed, under CFIA licenses, to proceed to processing plants, egg grading stations, processed egg plants or hatcheries inside or outside the Infected Region.

Please refer to Appendix M of the Notifiable Avian Influenza Hazard Specific Plan - (Internal access only) for the detailed requirements for the movement of poultry and poultry products within, out of, and in transit through the CA during a NAI outbreak.

9.8.4 Export Market Access

The federally registered establishments wishing to export must meet export requirements based on the prevailing import requirements set by the importing countries. In addition to previous statements in section 9.8 see the items below:

  • Importing countries may change their requirements at any time. It is the responsibility of the exporter to ensure the importing country will accept the product. If a country has officially imposed restrictions, no export will be allowed even at commercial risk. Shipments during the initial days of the outbreak may be in jeopardy if the country subsequently imposes restrictions. Unless otherwise specified product produced before the diagnosis of highly pathogenic AI and or H5/H7 is no longer eligible for export.
  • If an exporting establishment buys fresh/frozen poultry products originating from a control (HP) or quarantined premises (LP) these products must be identifiable at all times (i.e. can be distinguished from other Canadian products, see marking requirements below and example in Annex A) to assure traceability so that importing countries' requirements can be met where restrictions apply. In order to meet conditions to permit export certification of poultry products originating only from outside an identified region/area, the operator of the manufacturing establishment must maintain a list of all incoming products (including the origin and slaughter date/ processing of the poultry products, and the origin and production dates of the eggs or processed egg). They must also have written and implemented (as required) segregation procedures for poultry products originating from a CA (HP) or quarantined premises (LP) to the satisfaction of the CFIA VIC (or signing officer) and/or IIC. The establishment segregation program shall detail how incoming birds or implicated poultry products from the implicated area or quarantined farms will be identified and segregated, how segregation will be achieved and maintained through the slaughter, chilling, cutting, packaging, storage, and shipping process steps. The written program shall also detail who will be responsible to monitor this process as it occurs to ensure it is followed and where monitoring will be recorded in an auditable fashion. Deviation procedures are to be developed in the written program and in the event product segregation is not achieved this must be documented. In cases where protocols may lead to discussions of effectiveness of segregation, validation evidence showing complete segregation shall be submitted to the VIC/IIC so that they may make informed decisions on the acceptability of the segregation program. A list of quarantined or implicated premises will be provided confidentially to the VICs of federal slaughter establishments that may slaughter implicated birds to verify that the birds did move under license and that importing countries' requirements are met. The traceability mechanism must be documented by the operator and be auditable. The segregation program must be applicable to the restrictions of each country to which the establishment exports (either directly or indirectly).
  • If a poultry product originating from a CA (HP) or quarantined premise (LP) is processed in a registered processing establishment outside these regions, the origin of the product has to be maintained. Also, it must be appropriately labelled so that the product can be distinguished from other Canadian product (see the sample marking requirement below and example in Annex A)). If this product is shipped to another registered establishment for further processing, the origin of the product has to be maintained to assure traceability and it must be appropriately labelled so that the product can be distinguished from other Canadian product (see marking requirement below and example in Annex A). Raw (non fully cooked) finished products must be identified and stored in a manner to enable poultry products that are from a CA or quarantined premise to be easily distinguished from other Canadian product (see the sample marking requirement below (9.8.5) and example in Annex A).
  • Even after importing countries have lifted their ban on Canada or on an identified Canadian region, the aforementioned marking and traceability requirements will continue to apply to all applicable raw poultry products produced during the period the implicated virus may have been active up until the official request for declaration of freedom of AI to the OIE.
  • Enhanced export oversight will be provided by the CFIA during the period of time that marking and control of implicated product are in place. CFIA inspectors will provide direct oversight of every export load assembly process in establishments that handle or store implicated product.
  • Note regarding trans-docking: federal products moving into or across a non-federally registered dock or movements not under CFIA seal such as a rail car or non sealed truck will not be eligible for export to countries with that restriction if the load moves into or through an area of Canada that is subject to marking requirements.
  • Canada is considered free of a disease once OIE requirements have been met.

9.8.5 Marking Requirements

  • To facilitate the work of all parties involved, an identification mark has been agreed upon to identify poultry products from a CA or quarantined premises. The identification mark will be applied to raw (non fully cooked) poultry products (see sample in Annex A) and shall appear on the shipping container, in the case of bulk products, or on the main panel of the shipping container in the case of packaged products. The mark shall be applied upon the diagnosis of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza to all poultry products produced within the potential CA or on poultry products from the identified area in the case of the diagnosis of low pathogenic Avian Influenza. Marking shall apply to raw poultry product produced during the period 21 days prior to the determined date of infection of the initial premise until 90 days after cleaning and disinfection procedures have been completed on the last infected premise assuming surveillance monitoring of the poultry industry for AI was also completed.
  • Marking does not apply to poultry product shipped directly out of the federal establishment system into the domestic retail stream. Implicated product located in federal cold storage is subject to segregation and inventory control procedures, but does not require marking unless it is moved to another federal establishment. The size of the mark should be of at least 5 cm (sides of the triangle) and a two letter code identifying the CA shall be at least 2.5 cm tall and appear within the triangle. Stamps or permanently affixed stickers are to be supplied and used by registered cold storages and producing establishments. Operators of establishments where poultry products from a CA or identified area are processed or stored, are responsible for developing marking procedures and using the aforementioned identification mark, to the satisfaction of the CFIA, to ensure that all meat products derived from poultry products from a CA (HP) or identified area (LP) are identified as required.
  • As a control measure at a receiving establishment or registered storage, written confirmation from the operator of the supplying establishment or registered storage, endorsed by the resident CFIA inspector to the effect that the marking is conducted in a satisfactory manner, should be retained on file and made available on request. Meat product packaged in store level packaging for retail sale or packaged for the hotels, restaurants and institutions (HRI) trade on the Canadian market do not require the marking described above. Master cartons containing retail or HRI packaged products must be marked.
  • Product segregation and inventory tracking requirements apply to implicated product in federal storage.
  • Registered establishments within the identified area (CA or a province) in case of diagnosis of high pathogenic or low pathogenic Avian influenza will apply the mark to all poultry products as described above until 90 days have passed after cleaning and disinfection and recovery of the free status as per OIE guidelines.

After the recovery of the free status as per OIE guidelines, if the importing countries have not lifted the restrictions originating from the previous diagnosis of Avian Influenza in Canada; above mentioned registered establishment from previously identified area(s) must develop alternate control programs for segregation and tracking of the poultry products or continue with the existing marking requirements. These alternate control programs shall be approved by the VIC/IIC of the establishment after consultation with the Area Export Specialist. Similar control programs must be developed and implemented at the receiving establishments receiving poultry products as well. The VIC/IIC of the shipping establishment need to confirm the implementation of an alternate control program at the receiving establishment before product is shipped.

The export verification system shall ensure that poultry products produced in these establishments will not be inadvertently exported (directly or indirectly) to the countries with continued restrictions originating from previous diagnosis of Avian Influenza in Canada.

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