MADAWASKA (AP) – Trash-hauling trucks from northern Maine will be allowed into Canada beginning Friday after being turned back at the border earlier this week because of Canada’s restrictions on beef imports.

Two loads of solid waste were denied entry into Canada after last week’s discovery of mad cow disease in Washington state prompted the import restrictions.

The trucks were stopped Tuesday and Wednesday and sent back from New Brunswick border checkpoints in Edmundston, across the St. John River from Madawaska, and St. Leonard, across from Van Buren. Canadian officials later said the trucks would be allowed into Canada on Friday.

Canada Customs spokesman Doug Shackell said Customs officials were acting under orders from Canada’s federal agriculture agency.

“They were turned back because of unidentified products which may have been in the loads,” Shackell said.

One of the tractor-trailers was from the Northern Aroostook Regional Incinerator Facility at Frenchville, a trash collection facility for Fort Kent, Madawaska, Frenchville and St. Agatha. The other was from the Van Buren Solid Waste Transfer Station.

Those operations have taken trash to a provincial landfill, called CoGerno at Green River, since the site opened seven years ago.

Philip Marquis, foreman of the Van Buren Landfill Facility, said a truck with 18 tons of trash was stopped at St. Leonard on Tuesday afternoon. Norman Cyr, superintendent of Northern Aroostook Regional Incinerator, said his truck was turned back Wednesday morning.

Shackell didn’t know the specifics of the situation, but said the trucks were probably turned back because Customs officers didn’t know exactly what was in them and feared there could be beef or beef byproducts.

Later Wednesday, Canadian officials decided that trash-hauling trucks will be allowed through Edmundston and St. Leonard beginning Friday without certifying what’s in the load, Shackell said.

AP-ES-01-01-04 1316EST

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