- A Jennie-O Turkey Store operation in Barron, WI, discovered traces of a low-pathogenic bird flu strain, according to Food Processing.
- Hormel Foods, which owns Jennie-O, confirmed the H5N2 strain was detected March 4. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 84,000 birds are on the farm.
- The discovery is the third case reported in the U.S. Highly pathogenic bird flu (HPAI) H7 was detected at a Tennessee chicken farm, and an unrelated low-pathogenic strain was found at another Tennessee poultry operation.
The turkey farm found low-pathogenic strains of the virus, which the USDA notes do not spread as quickly as the more deadly variety. However, this type of strain can mutate into the more deadly virus if not closely watched.
Although this is the third case of bird flu detected in the United States in the past two weeks, officials said that none of the incidents are related.
This could be a sign that testing has improved, since they were all so quickly isolated and identified. But that’s probably not going to make consumers feel any better about the state of the industry. However, three different active strains of bird flu doesn't mean that U.S. birds are in bad shape. Bird flu is often carried by wild birds that show no symptoms. The virus is spread easily, through any secretion from an infected animal. Those secretions — like saliva — can also contaminate the dirt in a pen, helping the virus to spread through a single coop quickly,
With no signs of infection spreading, there’s no danger yet of any shortages of eggs or poultry. As long as there isn’t an outbreak like the one from 2015, which cost American egg farmers more than $1 billion, the market should stay fairly normal.