China has lifted a ban on poultry imports from Minnesota that was imposed for more than a year after an outbreak of avian flu. Prior to the ban, China was the #2 international market for state turkey and chicken producers – behind only Mexico, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

"It makes Christmas a little bit merrier," said Steve Olson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the state Chicken and Egg Association, trade groups for producers.

The ban was imposed by China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision after the H7 avian flu virus was detected in two turkey flocks in June 2011. The two flocks were immediately destroyed and the premises were cleaned. At the time, several countries temporarily banned imports of poultry from Wright County, the home of the two flocks. China’s ban on all Minnesota producers came into affect months after the incident.

Olson said the state's 250 turkey producers immediately lost a growing market for processed turkey, especially dark meat. Chicken producers also lost a market for chicken feet, which are considered a delicacy in China.

Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune