Jamaica has imposed import restrictions on poultry products from various locations in North America in the wake the numerous avian influenza outbreaks that have occurred in the United States and Canada.
The island's agriculture ministry has announced that fresh and frozen poultry, hatching eggs and various byproducts from U.S. states, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, will be restricted until further notice. Poultry imports from Canada's British Columbia were also restricted, effective March 19.
The Jamaican government said the trade restriction measures "are intended to safeguard the country's poultry and public health" from the H5N2 avian influenza strain.
Numerous other countries have already banned poultry imports from impacted North American areas.
Jamaica takes other steps to keep avian influenza away
In addition to the imposition of immediate trade restrictions, the Jamaican agriculture ministry says it has taken other steps to safeguard Jamaica’s poultry and human health.
It says a National Emergency Animal Disease Committee is in place to execute programs necessary to ensure Jamaica's preparedness to handle outbreaks of animal diseases, including avian influenza. The ministry also says it has engaged major players in the poultry industry and has been communicating with importers, Jamaica Customs Agency and the Ministry of Health on the matter.
The ministry says 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.