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USDA International Egg and Poultry


19 June 2014

USDA International Egg and Poultry: Turkey Meat in CanadaUSDA International Egg and Poultry: Turkey Meat in Canada

Canada has a multitude of independent turkey farmers, often operating family businesses, supplying live birds to processing companies.
USDA International Egg and Poultry

Canada operates a supply management system in the turkey sector; production is tightly controlled through a quota system. Decisions on the production volume are taken annually, with the national volume being allocated to each of the eight producing provinces, and subsequently further allocated, at provincial level, to individual producers.

Domestic production increased from about 100,000 metric tons (MT) in 1980 to over 160,000 MT three decades later. Despite this 60% increase in turkey meat production and the high per capita consumption, the turkey meat sector has not grown as fast as the chicken meat sector. On a per capita basis, Canada is among the top five largest consuming nations of turkey meat in the world; Canadians have maintained a remarkably stable turkey meat consumption of roughly 4 kg/person for the past 35 years. This basically means that the sector grew at a similar rate with the growth in the general population. By contrast, the chicken sector in Canada significantly outgrew the increase in population. From 1980 to present days, chicken production in Canada increased by approximately 175%, or nearly three times more than the turkey sector.

Over 40% of the domestic turkey production, which amounted to 160,000 MT in 2012, is comprised of heavy birds (weighting more than 11 kg) and mature turkeys. These birds typically supply the further processing industry. Turkey breasts coming from these large birds are used in the manufacturing of deli products (like turkey ham) or turkey breast roasts. The dark meat and the meat from mature turkeys are used to produce a large variety of further processed products such as: turkey kielbasa, turkey pepperoni, turkey pepperettes, turkey bacon, turkey burgers, turkey franks, hot dogs and wieners, etc.

In terms of export markets, nearly half of the turkey meat exported goes to the United States and South Africa. Other important markets are Gabon, Benin, Jamaica and the Philippines, which together accounted for almost 30 percent of the turkey meat exported in 2012.

The biggest challenge facing U.S. exporters of turkey and turkey meat products is the TRQ: only 5,588 MT are allowed into Canada every year at very low tariff rates (or duty free in the case of the United States). Imports exceeding this TRQ volume can still enter Canada, but will be assessed very high, prohibitive customs duty rates which can reach 170 percent.

A limited number of processed turkey meat products – specially defined mixtures (SDM) – can enter Canada duty-free and quotafree if originating in the United States.

Specially defined mixtures are defined in the Supplementary Note No.1 to HS Chapter 16 in Canada’s Customs Tariff. The definition (also applicable to chicken made products) states:

"Specially defined mixtures" of tariff items Nos. 1602.31.11, 1602.31.92, 1602.32.11 and 1602.32.92 means chicken or turkey or a product containing chicken or turkey, wherein 13% or more of the total weight of the product is comprised of goods other than the following: chicken, turkey, bread or breading, batter, oil, glazing, other coatings and bastes, and any added water (including that used in marination, glazing, other coatings, bastes, breading and batter). For the purposes of this definition, the weight of all ingredients shall be taken from the product specification sheets for that product required under the Meat Inspection Act for product labelling purposes.

Originally intended to include turkey based “TV dinners”, SDMs now cover a wide variety of products, as processing technologies evolved over time and as consumer preferences changed.

All U.S. companies interested in developing recipes that meet the SDM definition and in exporting to Canada such products are strongly encouraged to apply with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for an advanced ruling for customs classification. Such an advanced ruling should be obtained from CBSA prior to shipping the product to Canada, and preferably, prior even to manufacturing the product on a large scale.

Source: USDA FAS GAIN Report CA14054

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