France is moving ahead with an avian flu vaccination campaign
By Diego Flammini
Canada is suspending all poultry imports from France, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced on Sept. 29.
The suspension came into effect Oct. 1 and is in response to France launching a poultry vaccination campaign against highly pathogenic avian influenza.
“The CFIA is currently conducting a risk assessment. The industry will be informed if and when there are further changes based on the risk assessment,” the CFIA said in its alert.
The European Union passed legislation in March to oversee the use of vaccines to mitigate the effects of avian flu.
And France provided Canada relevant vaccine campaign information in July, the CFIA says.
France began vaccinating ducks on Monday.
“It’s a moment of optimism, we have the feeling of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” Marc Fesneau, France’s minister of agriculture, told media, Reuters reported.
Duck farms where the birds are raised for meat and foie gras, that have more than 250 birds, must abide by the two-dose vaccine campaign.
In total, about 60 million ducks will receive vaccines over the next year.
France’s poultry industry suffered extensive losses because of avian flu.
In 2021-2022, an outbreak of avian flu led “to the culling of more than 21 million poultry and endangering the French avian gene pool,” the country’s ministry of agriculture said in April.
For comparison, avian flu in Canada has affected almost 7.7 million birds as of Sept. 21 of this year, CFIA data shows.
France isn’t a major poultry exporter to Canada.
In 2021, Canada imported about $328 million of poultry meat, the Observatory for Economic Complexity reports.
Of that figure, France accounted for about $2.27 million.
Canada isn’t the only country to impose temporary restrictions on French poultry.
Japan and the United States are among the others to take similar action.
“France’s decision to vaccinate presents a risk of introducing HPAI into the United States,” the USDA said on Sept. 29.