WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture issued its final rule for importation of poultry and poultry products from regions with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

The final rule amends an interim rule that prohibited imports of live birds, poultry and hatching eggs, as well as poultry and bird products from any region where HPAI exists, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reported. The final rule allows the importation of live avian influenza-vaccinated zoological birds and poultry and the importation of HPAI-resistant pigeons, doves, and other Columbiform species under certain specific conditions, according to APHIS. The rule also allows bird carcasses and products imported as trophies to move to establishments approved to treat them for HPAI.

APHIS currently is considering a proposed rule that would allow imports of beef from the Patagonia region of Argentina to its list of regions considered free of foot-and-mouth disease and rinderpest, despite opposition from the US beef industry.