May 28, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Cal-Maine Foods Discloses Avian Influenza Detection, Halts Production, Destroys Chickens

Largest U.S. Egg Producer Takes Action After Avian Flu Detected in Texas Facility

Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., the largest producer of eggs in the United States, has disclosed via a press release the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) at one of its facilities in Parmer County, Texas. The presence of HPAI prompted the depopulation of around 1.6 million laying hens and 337,000 pullets, accounting for roughly 3.6% of the company’s total flock as of March 2, 2024. Production at the affected facility has halted temporarily as Cal-Maine Foods adheres to USDA protocols. The company is actively seeking production alternatives from other facilities to minimize customer disruption.

No eggs or associated products have been recalled as part of this issue, but eggs must be properly cooked, as noted by the United States Department of Agriculture. This news comes close on the heels of a case of Avian flu infecting cattle and then a human being in Texas. A key symptom of contracting Avian flu is eye redness. 

Despite Cal-Maine Foods’ commitment to stringent biosecurity measures across its locations, the threat of HPAI remains unpredictable. The virus persists within the wild bird population, posing a heightened risk during migration seasons. While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assesses the human health risk from HPAI viruses as low, the USDA confirms that properly handled and cooked eggs do not transmit HPAI. Consequently, there is no known risk associated with eggs currently in circulation.

Cal-Maine Foods collaborates closely with federal, state, and local authorities, as well as industry stakeholders, to mitigate future outbreak risks and manage responses effectively. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and individual states monitor and publicly report incidents of HPAI by location.

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