Bird flu hatches on a second Tyson poultry farm

Dive Brief:

  • A second commercial poultry flock that contracts with Tyson Foods Inc. has tested positively for avian influenza, according to Meat + Poultry.
  • The birds were infected with the same strain that was reported in another chicken flock less than two miles away on March 4 — the first bird flu outbreak on a U.S. commercial poultry farm in over a year. That outbreak affected 73,500 birds, which were euthanized to try and contain the disease and keep the poultry out of the food supply.
  • “All flocks located within a six-mile radius of the original farm will be tested and will not be transported unless they test negative for the virus. We don’t expect disruptions to our chicken business and plan to meet our customers’ needs," Tyson said in a company statement. 

Dive Insight:

With bird flu announcements coming fast and furious these past two weeks — at least five reported incidents have been revealed in that time — consumers are sure to be worried. However, officials say that all incidents have been discovered quickly and there has been no threat to the food supply.

In response, the US Poultry & Egg Association issued a statement stressing the importance of biosecurity as an on-farm intervention to prevent the spread of bird flu. 

“With this positive H7NX finding, there is an urgent need for all poultry producers to be vigilant in maintaining biosecurity on farms, particularly wild bird control at this time of year,” John Glisson, USPOULTRY’ vice president of research programs, said in a statement on its website.

While poultry groups and state officials were caught off-guard by how quickly bird flu spread in 2015 — when the disease destroyed nearly 50 million farm birds nationwide — most poultry companies and farmers have since initiated better security measures and safety protocols into their operations.

Following this year's first report of bird flu, many of the top poultry producers were quick to respond. Reuters reported that Pilgrim’s Pride, the world’s second-largest chicken producer, “immediately activated [avian influenza] response plans and heightened on-farm biosecurity programs at all Pilgrim's facilities.” Additionally, Sanderson Farms cracked down on the movement of people and vehicles into its facilities.

It's unlikely that this wave of bird flu has passed. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries confirmed three findings of avian influenza in poultry in north Alabama on March 15, and poultry producers should have plans in place in case of an outbreak at their facilities. 

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Filed Under: Manufacturing Food Safety Meat / Protein
Top image credit: skeeze