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Largest U.S. Egg Producer Finds Bird Flu in Chickens at Texas Plant

Christian Talk Podcast

The leading fresh egg producer in the U.S. has temporarily ceased operations at a Texas plant due to the detection of bird flu in chickens, as announced by the company on Tuesday.

The virus was also identified at a facility in Michigan.

Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., headquartered in Ridgeland, Mississippi, disclosed that around 1.6 million laying hens and 337,000 pullets were culled following avian influenza outbreaks at their Parmer County, Texas location.

This amounts to roughly 3.6 percent of the facility’s total flock.

The plant is situated on the Texas-New Mexico border in the state’s panhandle, approximately 370 miles northwest of Dallas.

The company primarily distributes its eggs in the midwestern, mid-Atlantic, southeastern, and southwestern regions of the United States.

“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,” the statement said.

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

The company added that it does not know of a risk associated with eggs already on the market and noted that no eggs have been recalled.

“The announcement by Cal-Maine comes a day after state health officials said a person had been diagnosed with bird flu after being in contact with cows presumed to be infected, and that the risk to the public remains low,” according to the report.

According to federal health officials, the human case in Texas represents the first documented occurrence worldwide of a person contracting this strain of bird flu from a mammal.
Additionally, Michigan State University’s Diagnostic Laboratory detected bird flu in a commercial poultry facility in Ionia County, as reported by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“The department said it received confirmation of the disease Monday from the lab and that it is the fourth time since 2022 that the disease was detected at a commercial facility in Michigan,” according to the report.

According to Department spokesperson Jennifer Holton, the facility is presently under quarantine. She mentioned that the department anticipates no supply chain disruptions statewide.
Additionally, Holton noted that state law prohibits the department from disclosing the type of poultry present at the facility.

“Dairy cows in Texas and Kansas were reported to be infected with bird flu last week — and federal agriculture officials later confirmed infections in a Michigan dairy herd that had recently received cows from Texas,” according to the report. “A dairy herd in Idaho has been added to the list after federal agriculture officials confirmed the detection of bird flu in them, according to a Tuesday press release from the USDA [United States Department of Agriculture].”

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Joe Messina

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