Cal-Maine Foods, the country’s largest egg producer, this week shut down production at a Kansas facility after highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was detected in the flock.
The company did not say what will become of the approximately 684,000 laying hens at the facility; typically they are euthanized to prevent spreading the disease. That represents approximately 1.6% of the company’s total flock.
In addition to temporarily ceasing production there, the company said it’s following protocols prescribed by USDA and is securing production from other facilities to minimize disruption to its customers. Cal-Maine noted it has a layer complex nearby that houses approximately one million hens. There have been no positive tests for HPAI at any other Cal-Maine Foods locations to date.
According to the USDA, these detections do not present an immediate public health concern and are not a threat to the food supply. And this is just one of several reports of avian influenza reported across the country this fall.