Cal-Maine Foods temporarily halts production at Kansas facility

An avian influenza outbreak has impacted 684,000 layers
calendar icon 13 December 2023
clock icon 1 minute read

Egg producer Cal-Maine Foods said on Tuesday it had temporarily ceased production at a facility in Kansas after some of the flock tested positive for avian influenza, reported Reuters

The company said highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) had affected about 684,000 laying hens, or nearly 1.6% of its total flock.

Cal-Maine said these detections do not present an immediate public health concern and are not a threat to the food supply, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

It also said that no known HPAI risk associated with eggs were currently in the market and no eggs have been recalled, adding that there were no positive tests for HPAI at any other company locations to date.

Shares of the company were down marginally at $48.80 in extended trading following the news.

More than 72.5 million chickens, turkeys and other birds have been wiped out since the US avian influenza outbreak began in February 2022, according to the USDA.

US cases in commercial poultry flocks have increased since October 2023, with experts blaming wild birds for spreading the disease. Kansas had not reported an outbreak in a commercial flock since February 2023, US data shows.

Other large egg-laying operations have also been hit. Ohio confirmed last week that a commercial layer farm with 2.6 million birds was infected and said the birds were being culled.

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