WASHINGTON – The major purchaser of US turkey and chicken, Mexico, is easing restrictions on American poultry shipments since it earlier banned the import of poultry from states that reported commercial cases of avian influenza, according to Bloomberg.

Some imports of chicken and turkey will now be allowed from California, Missouri, Arkansas and Minnesota, if the product is being exported for further processing or heat treatment in Mexico, relays an update on the website for the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. These particular states reported detections this year of the highly contagious variety of avian influenza in commercial flocks.

Poultry products now eligible to be shipped to Mexico from the four states for more processing include raw chicken and turkey meat, whole turkeys and chicken and turkey cuts, according to the USDA. The agency added the eased restrictions don’t apply to whole chickens.

This decision to ease up restrictions happened after China, the European Union and countries in Central America and the Middle East also set limits on American poultry-meat imports. Meanwhile, both Tyson Foods Inc. and Sanderson Farms Inc. said they were reinforcing precautions for their flocks after this year’s spread of bird flu, which was the biggest US outbreak on record.

This increased access to Mexico is a positive for US poultry companies, according to Farha Aslam, a New York-based analyst for Stephens Inc. Hormel Foods Corp., parent company Jennie-O Turkey Store products, will benefit since a lot of US turkey exports go into making further-processed products, Aslam said.