Avian Influenza Case Wipes Out Nearly 2 Million Birds at Cal-Maine Texas Facility

April 3, 2024
Production has been halted and more than 1.9 million birds culled at Parmer County egg facility after HPAI was found to have infiltrated the flock.

Cal-Maine Foods Inc. has reported that its Parmer County, Texas, facility has tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), requiring the depopulation of approximately 1.6 million laying hens and 337,000 pullets, according to a company release.

The Parmer County flock accounts for about 3.6% of Cal-Maine’s total flock as of March 2, 2024, the company said. Production at the facility has been temporarily stopped as well, following USDA protocols. Cal-Maine said it is working with other facilities to fill production and minimize disruption to its customers.

Cal-Maine noted it remains dedicated to robust biosecurity programs but reminded that no facility is immune to HPAI infiltration, and that during wild bird migration seasons, risks are heightened. Although there was a case of a human in Texas contracting the virus just a day ago, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risks of HPAI to human health to be low. USDA also says that HPAI cannot be transmitted through safely handled and properly cooked eggs. Last week, HPAI had been found in dairy cattle in Texas and Kansas.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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