US - A poultry processor's early detection programme has identified H5N8 avian influenza in a single turkey flock in California.
Foster Farms says it maintains an ongoing early detection programme for avian influenza as part of its stringent testing and biosecurity programme.
As part of this surveillance, Foster Farms determined the presence of avian influenza in a single, rural turkey ranch in Stanislaus County.
The company informed the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to USDA policy, the ranch was quarantined and will be humanely depopulated by the USDA and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to prevent introduction to migratory and commercial flocks. No poultry products in the marketplace are impacted.
While the disease presents a risk to avian species, the USDA said: “There is no public health concern.”
Since late 2014, ongoing avian influenza incidents have been detected in wild waterfowl and backyard poultry operations along the Pacific Flyway.
As a result, Foster Farms says it increased biosecurity measures at all West Coast facilities and is actively partnering with state and national agricultural and veterinary leaders to prevent potential avian exposure.
To protect further the health of its poultry and ensure the safety of its products, Foster Farms has long employed strict and industry leading biosecurity practices including isolation of poultry farms, traffic control and sanitation. The company has maintained a continuous testing programme for avian influenza since 2000.
The official report sent by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) states that the affected flock of commercial turkeys has 145,000 birds but that only one house of 9,000 birds suffered increased mortality; around 4,500 died and 1,200 have been destroyed.
The presence of the H5N8 variant of highly pathogenic avian influenza has been confirmed.
You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.
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