The fraudulent mislabeling of chicken as spent fowl to avoid import tariffs is becoming a serious issue for Canada and is costing the country thousands of jobs and lost gross domestic product, Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) said.

CFO directors and staff carried that message to Ontario members of parliament during the annual Chicken Farmers of Canada education day in Ottawa. The Ontario team consisting of Chair Henry Zantingh, directors Murray Booy, Ed Benjamins, Rick Kaptein, and Mark Hermann and staff members Rob Dougans and Michael Edmonds along with processor representatives Lucy McKee and Don Kilimnik met with more than 20 members of parliament on May 31, to brief them on the spent fowl issue and other import concerns that need urgent action.

So called ‘spent fowl’ imports have spiked from 55 million kilograms in 2014-2015 to 81 million kilograms over the same period in 2015-2016, which leads CFO leaders to believe a great deal of this ‘fowl’ is in fact broiler meat and should be subject to Canadian tariffs. Ontario parliament members were urged to support proposals which would certify and test fowl import shipments to ensure they comply with federal import rules crucial to the effective management of the supply management system.

The parliament members were also reminded of the importance of the Canadian chicken industry to the country's economic well-being, nationally supporting more than 70,000 jobs and contributing CA$5.9 billion (US$4.6 billion) to the country’s gross domestic product, with almost half of that in Ontario.