Avian Influenza: A Retailer’s Guide

America’s egg farmers are deeply concerned about the threat of Avian Influenza (AI) to their flocks and to the egg industry, especially the newly confirmed findings of AI on commercial egg farms. The strains of AI that have been found are not a public health concern and have not affected any humans to date.

However, America’s egg farmers want to ensure that we are keeping retailers up-to-date on the situation. The following answers to frequently asked questions are provided for your reference.

What is avian influenza?

Avian influenza, a virus commonly known as the “bird flu,” is an infectious disease of birds caused by type A strains of the influenza virus.

Is there AI on egg farms?

Yes, there have been positive findings of AI on commercial egg farms. However, egg farmers work diligently to care for their flocks and are also working hand-in-hand with federal regulatory authorities to help prevent the disease from entering other farms.

Should I stop selling eggs if AI is detected in my region, as a precaution?

No. The CDC considers the risk to people from the virus to be low as AI cannot be transmitted through properly cooked eggs. Additionally, the strains of this disease are not transmissible to humans and no human infections with these viruses have been detected.

Are shell eggs from infected farms in the egg supply?

The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, ensuring the food supply remains safe. Once an egg farm has tested positive for AI, those eggs must be destroyed and cannot be sent to the market. It’s unlikely that shell eggs from an infected farm would make it to retail.

What are egg farmers doing to prevent the spread of AI?

Biosecurity is always a priority on U.S. egg farms, and egg farmers are focused on taking all needed steps to protect their flocks. In response to the virus, U.S. egg farmers, together with turkey and chicken producers, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other authorities, have heightened measures on the farm to limit the spread of avian influenza. Comprehensive biosecurity practices on commercial egg farms include, but are not limited to, restricting farm access, preventing hens from exposure to wild and migratory birds, increasing veterinary monitoring of flocks and using protective gear at all times.

Where should I go if I have more questions or want more information?

America’s egg farmers continue to be vigilant in keeping their hens free from disease and assure retailers and their customers that eggs and egg products are safe. For more information, please visit www.eggsafety.org or contact the American Egg Board at 847.296.7043 or via email.


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