Trucking regs waived to fight avian flu outbreak
ST. PAUL — In an attempt to protect the state’s poultry industry and prevent the spread of avian influenza, Gov. Tim Walz waived trucking regulations in an executive order on Wednesday.
The order is part of the continued efforts to control and contain the current outbreak of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Minnesota.
The outbreak poses a high risk to poultry but a low risk to the public, and there is no food safety concern for consumers.
“We are taking swift action to contain the spread of avian influenza and support Minnesota’s poultry farmers and producers,” said Governor Walz. “I’m grateful for the collaboration with Minnesota’s poultry industry and our federal partners to respond to these cases and protect our strong poultry industry.”
Minnesota is ranked first in the nation in turkey production, with more than 660 turkey farms raising about 40 million birds annually. Turkey production generates $774 million in cash receipts annually, and in 2020, Minnesota exported about 15% of its production, worth approximately $114 million.
Poultry growers and industry associations have requested immediate help to support the safe and efficient movement of commodities used in H5N1 emergency response efforts. Waiving the strict enforcement of certain weight restriction regulations and hours of service requirements will assist with depopulation efforts, transportation of uninfected animals to processing facilities, and maintenance of adequate supplies to support healthy flocks.
These waivers will also help prevent the spread of the virus between flocks by reducing the number of trips that trucks need to make to farm sites.
More information on the confirmed cases, including information and resources for farmers and flock owners, can be found on the Board of Animal Health’s website (bah.state.mn.us).
Poultry is safe to eat, and proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F is always advised. The Centers for Disease Control also recently announced this strain of avian influenza is a low risk to the public. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.
The executive order will be effective through Oct. 28.