Largest U.S. fresh egg producer discovers bird flu in chickens at Texas and Michigan facilities

Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., the largest producer of fresh eggs in the U.S., temporarily halted production at a Texas plant due to bird flu being found in chickens. Approximately 1.6 million laying hens and 337,000 pullets were destroyed at the facility in Parmer County, Texas. The infection, avian influenza, prompted the company to work closely with government officials and industry groups to manage the response and mitigate future outbreaks. The company stated that there is no known bird flu risk associated with eggs currently on the market and that properly handled and cooked eggs are safe to eat.

In Michigan, bird flu was detected in a commercial poultry facility in Ionia County, marking the fourth instance since 2022 that the disease was found in the state. The facility has been placed under quarantine, but state officials do not anticipate any disruptions to supply chains across Michigan. The human case in Texas is the first known instance globally of a person contracting this version of bird flu from a mammal. Dairy cows in Texas and Kansas were reported to be infected with bird flu, and infections were later confirmed in a Michigan dairy herd that had received cows from Texas.

The Michigan State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed the presence of bird flu in the poultry facility in Ionia County, which is located about 100 miles northwest of Detroit. The type of poultry at the facility has not been disclosed, as state law prohibits the department from sharing that information. Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. primarily sells its eggs in the Southwestern, Southeastern, Midwestern, and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States and is working to secure production from other facilities to minimize disruptions to its customers.

State health officials in Texas announced that a person had been diagnosed with bird flu after being in contact with cows suspected to be infected, but noted that the risk to the public remains low. The Texas plant where the bird flu outbreak occurred is located on the Texas-New Mexico border in the Texas Panhandle. The plant is approximately 85 miles southwest of Amarillo and 370 miles northwest of Dallas. The company emphasized its commitment to working with government and industry partners to address the risks associated with bird flu outbreaks and to ensure the safety of its products for consumers.

Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. reassured the public that there is no known risk associated with consuming eggs from its facilities, as all necessary precautions have been taken to prevent contaminated products from reaching the market. Proper handling and cooking of eggs are recommended to ensure safety when consuming eggs. The company remains vigilant in monitoring for potential outbreaks and is taking proactive measures to prevent the spread of avian influenza among its flocks. Customers can continue to enjoy Cal-Maine’s eggs with confidence in their safety and quality.