JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, has imposed an immediate import restriction on poultry products from North America the main source from which Jamaica imports poultry products.
  • This is in a bid to safeguard Jamaica’s poultry and public health in the wake of recently reported outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.
  • There is no immediate food safety risk and the consumption of properly cooked poultry meat and poultry products remains safe.

In a bid to safeguard Jamaica’s poultry and public health in the wake of recently reported outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, commonly known as bird flu, in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, Government, through the Veterinary Services Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, has imposed an immediate import restriction on poultry products from North America the main source from which Jamaica imports poultry products.

With immediate effect, all poultry and poultry products (raw, chilled, fresh or frozen) and by-products not fully cooked, hatching eggs and raw pet foods originating in the states of Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington in the USA and British Columbia, Canada, are under restriction until further advised.

The list of products includes, but is not limited to:

•live birds and hatching eggs, egg yolks, egg whites;

•poultry meat (except fully cooked, canned, commercially sterile products);

•raw pet foods containing poultry;

•feathers/offal.

The measures are intended to safeguard the country’s poultry and public health. There is no immediate food safety risk and the consumption of properly cooked poultry meat and poultry products remains safe.

In addition to the imposition of immediate restrictions, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, in collaboration with industry stakeholders, has already taken other steps to safeguard Jamaica’s poultry and human health.

The Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries has already engaged major players in the poultry industry and has been communicating with importers, Jamaica Customs Agency and the Ministry of Health on the matter. Further engagement will involve backyard and small scale poultry operators, egg farmers, pet bird owners, pet stores and all other stakeholders to ensure full cooperation on the part of everyone.

The Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries has in place a National Emergency Animal Disease Committee (NEADCOM), chaired by the Minister.  This committee oversees programmes necessary to ensure the island’s preparedness to handle outbreaks of animal diseases, including the avian influenza (AI). Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) has been included in the Ministry’s ‘Emergency Animal Disease Preparedness Plan’, which outlines procedures in case of a disease emergency.

Poultry farmers are advised to avoid contact between their poultry and wild birds by proofing their poultry houses from these wild birds. They should ensure that wild birds, including pigeons, cannot enter the poultry houses and the feed and water must be protected from contamination by these wild birds.

Jamaica is currently free of the disease; however this plan of action must be in place in the event that it does reach the island’s shores.

All measures are being taken in accordance with Jamaica’s Animals (Diseases and Importation) law and consistent with international guidelines.