US’s Largest Egg Producer Shuts Down After Avian Flu Outbreak

US’s Largest Egg Producer Shuts Down After Avian Flu Outbreak

A poultry plant in Texas, operated by Cal-Maine Foods, the largest egg producer in the United States, has been temporarily closed after an outbreak of avian flu was detected among its birds.

According to a press release issued on Tuesday by Cal-Maine Foods, the presence of the virus was confirmed at the facility, leading to the culling of approximately 1.6 million hens and 337,000 pullets.

While the company asserts that the risk to public health is low, citing information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), authorities have taken preventive measures to ensure food safety. It is highlighted that the virus does not transmit through properly handled and cooked eggs.

This incident follows a similar episode involving a dairy worker in Texas who was being treated for avian flu, becoming the second known human case in the country. The CDC confirmed that the individual was infected with the H5N1 strain of the virus.

Additionally, last month in Minnesota, the first infection of avian flu in some goats in the U.S. was reported, suggesting a possible spread of the virus among farm animals. Other states, such as Kansas, Michigan, Idaho, and New Mexico, have also reported cases of avian flu in dairy cows.

Although the risk to human health is low, health authorities recommend avoiding the consumption of raw or undercooked food, unpasteurized milk, and raw cheese. It is advised to cook eggs and poultry meat to a minimum temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to eliminate any risk of contagion.

Symptoms of avian flu in humans include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, and difficulty breathing, among others. It is important to stay informed and follow the recommendations of health authorities to prevent the spread of the disease.