January 11, 2015 11:03 pm
Updated: August 6, 2016 2:53 pm

Ban on poultry products from Washington State and Oregon frustrate cross-border shoppers


WATCH ABOVE: Cross-border shoppers are being caught off guard by a recently imposed ban. Their Washington purchases of eggs and poultry products are being dumped at the border. And as Jeremy Hunka reports, it’s all because of the avian flu.

A recent ban on poultry products from Washington State and Oregon by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is causing inconvenience for consumers and industry alike.

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“Not being able to get what you planned to get is a little disappointing,” said Cherryl Smith, who headed to Blaine today to get chicken and eggs only be told she wouldn’t be allowed to bring them back.

“There should be more publicity about it and more widely known before people come down.”

READ MORE: Avian flu found in southeast Washington backyard flock

Smith was lucky compared to many commuters who weren’t warned in grocery stores of the ban, and ended up having to dump their food at the border. Canada Border Services Agency provided a photo of some of the products they had to confiscate, but were not available for an interview today.

Disposed poultry products at the Douglas Port of Entry

The CFIA says the measure is needed “to protect Canada’s poultry resources from an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza,” and say all poultry products and poultry by-products from the two states not fully cooked are banned from Canada until further notice. The ban went into place on January 8.

“It’s a precaution. We’ve been saying all along the risk is incredibly small, but our government is just doing what other governments have done, which is risk prevention,” says Michael Benoit, a member of the B.C. Poultry Association.

The ban comes just as an avian flu outbreak in B.C. comes to an end. That affected 11 different farms in the Fraser Valley, forcing them to kill nearly 250,000 chicken and turkeys.

READ MORE: Industry says flu outbreak contained

“It’s another inconvenience,” admits Benoit, who says this will cause issues for farms trying to import chickens. “We’re going have to adjust, but within a week of this ban I’m sure we’ll come up with a plan that will minimize the impacts.”

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