Canada toughens import requirements on US breeding cattle over bird flu concerns

FILE PHOTO: A dairy cow stops to look up while feeding at a dairy farm in Ashland

(Reuters) - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has toughened import requirements on U.S. breeding cattle over the H5N1 bird flu virus, the agency said in a statement on Friday.

The first confirmed case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in a dairy herd on March 25 and the second human case in two years on April 1 have heightened concerns in the U.S. about the spread of the virus to animals and people.

The CFIA has enhanced import requirements on dairy cattle from the U.S. from April 29, the statement said.

Import measures for cattle from the U.S. will now include negative HPAI test results for lactating dairy cattle, testing of milk at the retail level to look for viral fragments of HPAI, and voluntary testing of cows that are not presenting with clinical signs of the virus, the CFIA said.

Since 2022, bird flu in the United States has infected over 90 million chickens, more than 9,000 wild birds and 34 dairy herds, as well as one person in Texas who came in close contact with infected cattle and another person after exposure to poultry.

(Reporting by Gursimran Kaur in Bengaluru and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Leslie Adler)