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Bird Flu Outbreaks Returning in the Midwest

Oct. 24, 2023
USDA has detected several cases of avian influenza; last year’s severe outbreak cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars.

Avian influenza – bird flu – is beginning to rear its ugly head again in the U.S. The Dept. of Agriculture on Oct. 7 detected its first case of avian flu since April on a commercial turkey farm in South Dakota, then one in Utah and more recently confirmed cases in two commercial turkey farms in Iowa and one in Minnesota.

Infected flocks are culled to prevent the spread of the virus, potentially tightening the poultry meat and egg supply if more cases occur. Already more than a half million birds have been destroyed.

Last year was the deadliest outbreak ever in the U.S., costing poultry producers nearly 59 million birds across 47 states, including egg-laying chickens, and turkeys and chickens raised for meat. It shot up egg, chicken and turkey prices for consumers and cost the government over $660 million.

Cal-Maine Foods, the country’s largest egg supplier, recently warned that highly pathogenic avian influenza remains present in the wild bird population and the possibility of transmission to farm animals becomes higher during the fall migration season.

USDA already has allocated $502 million to its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to prepare for bird flu this fall.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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