Frequently asked questions

Avian influenza frequently asked questions:

What are the rules, regulations and guidelines put in place to ensure the top quality of Canadian eggs and poultry products?

The Government of Canada has an organization called the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), whose role is to enforce the food safety and nutritional quality standards established by Health Canada and, for animal health and plant protection, to set standards and carry out enforcement and inspection.

The mandate of the CFIA is vast and complex. Activities range from the inspection of federally registered meat processing facilities to border inspections for foreign pests and diseases, to the enforcement of practices related to fraudulent labelling. The CFIA also verifies the humane transportation of animals, conducts food investigations and recalls, and performs laboratory testing and environmental assessments of seeds, plants, feeds and fertilizers. In a nutshell, the CFIA is Canada's federal food safety, animal health and plant protection enforcement agency.

For more information, contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Do on-farm food safety standards exist?

Yes. The Canadian On-Farm Food Safety Program (COFFSP) is specific to each production and is directed by producers in collaboration with governments. It is a science-based, credible program consistent with the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) standards. This program is recognized in Canada and abroad, and is managed by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

For further information on this program, visit the following poultry organizations:

What does supply management (quotas) mean?

Supply management is a marketing system where producers control the production (supply) of a particular commodity (product). The basic idea behind supply management is to make sure domestic demand is met, while ensuring a reasonable return for producers and stable prices for consumers. Through a federal-provincial-territorial agreement, national marketing agencies and provincial or territorial commodity boards jointly exercise the authority to determine the amount of commodity that may be produced.

There are four poultry and egg marketing agencies in Canada: Egg Farmers of Canada, which was established in 1972, the Turkey Farmers of Canada, established in 1974, the Chicken Farmers of Canada, established in 1978, and the Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, established in 1986.

Where can I find information on the importation of poultry meat and eggs from Canada?

There are different sources depending on the type of information you are looking for. Usually, the Websites provided below answer most organizations'questions about importing Canadian eggs and poultry products.

The Website of the Agri-Food Trade Service of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada contains a wealth of information on suppliers, products, Canadian Trade Commissioners and provides a link to the International Business Opportunities Centre.

Also of considerable interest is the Websites of the Poultry and Egg Processors Council (CPEPC).

I would like to have the list of Canadian chicken, turkey and egg producers. Is such a list available from your department?

Lists of the names and addresses of individual producers are not available from the department. Although individual producers' names are usually confidential, we suggest that you contact the appropriate marketing board or producer association to inquire about a list. If a list is not available, you could inquire about advertising in a publication that targets the producer group. For example, the organization may have a magazine or newsletter for members.

Where can I find information on starting a poultry business?

For information on the financial aspect of starting a business, please contact your nearest Farm Credit Canada (FCC) office or call 1-888-332-3301. The FCC's website is: http://www.fcc-fac.ca/.

Could you explain to me why hens lay different coloured eggs? Does the breed of the hen or what the hen eats have an effect on the colour of the shell?

Egg shell colour can vary, but it has nothing to do with the quality, flavour, nutritive value, cooking characteristics or shell thickness of an egg. The colour of the egg shells depends upon the breed of the hen. In Canada, white-shell eggs come from Leghorn hens while brown-shell eggs are produced by Rhode Island Red breed hens. Rhode Island Red hens are slightly larger birds and require more food. Additional food costs and a smaller supply tend to make brown eggs more expensive than white eggs.

How many days does it take for the chick to emerge from the egg?

Broiler hatching eggs are fertilized and sent to hatcheries where they hatch 21 days later into broiler chicks. These chicks are then sent to chicken producers who raise them into chickens for human consumption.


If you have any questions or require additional information, please send an e-mail to poultry-volaille@agr.gc.ca

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