Mexico has eased restrictions on shipments of U.S. poultry after earlier banning supplies from states with confirmed cases of avian influenza in commercial poultry flocks.
Mexico, which is the top importer of U.S. poultry, will now allow some imports of chicken and turkey from California, Missouri, Arkansas and Minnesota, if the product is being exported for further processing or heat treatment in Mexico, according to an update the website for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. All four states this year reported detections of the highly contagious variety of avian influenza in commercial poultry flocks.
The products now eligible for shipment to Mexico from the four states are: raw chicken and turkey meat, whole turkeys, and chicken and turkey cuts, the USDA said. The eased restrictions don’t apply to whole chickens, the agency said. The shipments are eligible only if they are destined for more processing in Mexico.
This is “a benefit both to the U.S. poultry industry and to Mexican consumers,” Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council told Bloomberg. Mexico’s move “will probably help encourage other countries to do the same,” he said.
Mexico’s decision to ease trade restrictions comes after China, the European Union and countries in Central America and the Middle East also set limits on American poultry-meat shipments.
“The increased access to Mexico is a positive for U.S. poultry companies,” Farha Aslam, a New York-based analyst for Stephens Inc., said. Hormel Foods, which makes Jennie-O Turkey Store products, particularly will benefit because much of U.S. turkey exports are used for further processed products, Aslam said.