Largest US Fresh Egg Producer Halts Production at Plant, Destroys Nearly 2 Million Chickens After Disease Hits

Largest US Fresh Egg Producer Halts Production at Plant, Destroys Nearly 2 Million Chickens After Disease Hits

The largest producer of eggs in the United States has announced that it is halting production at a plant in Texas after the deadly bird flu was detected there, causing the company to cull the flock.

Cal-Maine Foods announced on Tuesday that it halted production at its facility in Parmer County, Texas, about 85 miles southwest of Amarillo, after the disease was discovered there, ABC News reported.

Besides the 1.6 million egg-laying hens at the plant, ABC reported, the company also destroyed 337,000 pullets — female chickens not yet mature enough to lay eggs.

The plant is one of 42 egg-producing locations owned by the company, according to the Cal-Maine website.

Eggs produced by Cal-Maine are marketed in the Southwestern, Southeastern, Midwestern and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, the outlet added.

“The Company continues to work closely with federal, state and local government officials and focused industry groups to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks and effectively manage the response,” Cal-Maine Foods said in a statement.

“Cal-Maine Foods is working to secure production from other facilities to minimize disruption to its customers,” the statement added.

The company also noted that there is no recall of previously shipped products and no bird flu had been detected in those shipments.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that eggs that are properly handled and cooked are perfectly safe to eat.

This is only the latest detection of the disease

The H5N1 HPAI bird flu has been stalking U.S. poultry at least since 2022.

The ongoing outbreaks of bird flu has caused the cost of eggs to wildly fluctuate and at times soar to historically high prices.

The bird flu is also jumping to other animals.

Last month, bird flu had been detected in a goat in Minnesota, marking the first time in the U.S. that the avian influenza had been found crossing over into domestic livestock.

Minnesota State Veterinarian Dr. Brian Hoefs tried to downplay the specific finding, but stressed the idea of vigilance to maintain safety, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

“Our colleagues at the national level are telling us that this is likely a limited incident,” Hoefs told MPR.

“But the message is biosecurity, biosecurity, biosecurity. We want to make sure that we are preventing any similar exposures.”

The animal was found on a farm in western Stevens County, Minnesota, near a poultry flock that tested positive for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, CBS News reported at the time.

While it was the first time bird flu was found in a domestic ruminant animal, it has been detected in skunks, dogs, cats.

In Alaska, an infected polar bear was found to have died from the disease sometime last fall, according to another CBS report.

Meanwhile, ABC added that dairy cows in Idaho, Texas, and Kansas were reported to be infected with bird flu late in March.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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