Avian Influenza

This is a very difficult time for turkey farmers and our industry continues to feel the impact of avian influenza throughout the supply chain. Some provinces and regions are experiencing a greater affect from avian influenza than others, in large part due to avian influenza being prevalent in migratory wild birds. This year, the virus is particularly impactful. This is not unique to Canada as there are similar situations across Europe, the U.S., and other countries as well.

Canadian turkey farmers meet biosecurity standards, as they always have, and are putting into place heightened precautions to avoid an avian influenza outbreak in their barns and to mitigate spread.

It’s important to remember that Health Canada assures us this is not a food safety issue, but a flock health issue. Turkey product, cooked as recommended, are as always safe to eat.

The turkey industry is working to prevent any potential supply issues and to ensure turkey is available to consumers in store. Some parts of Canada may experience lower supplies of fresh turkey due to avian influenza, but frozen inventory should be adequate in most regions to ensure turkey will be available to Canadians leading to the holidays.

British Columbia has seen more cases of avian influenza across the province and is feeling more pressure on supply. The industry in British Columbia is working alongside the government and with supply chain partners to navigate supply impacts. The production impact is substantial, and it may not be possible to fully mitigate the loss of supply for Christmas.

Across Canada, our sector always works closely with supply chain partners to adjust and ensure availability of supply for consumers. Farmers raise birds to the specification of buyers, who in turn closely follow consumer preference. The turkey industry has been trending towards smaller turkeys and turkey roast during the holidays, and as such a variety of turkey options are available.

We are confident consumers will have options during the holidays, though suggest they plan their preferred turkey purchase ahead this year.

We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season with turkey at the table.  For turkey recipes and more, visit: canadianturkey.ca.