US egg major Cal-Maine Foods has temporarily ceased production at a facility in Kansas following an outbreak of avian influenza at the site.

The Mississippi-based company, the largest producer and distributor of fresh shell eggs in the US, said approximately 684,000 laying hens, or around 1.6% of its total flock have tested positive for “highly pathogenic avian influenza”, or HPAI.

Aside from naming the state in which it is located, it has not identified the facility affected.

In a statement, Cal-Maine said: “Production at the facility has temporarily ceased as the company follows the protocols prescribed by the USDA [US Department of Agriculture]. Cal-Maine Foods is working to secure production from other facilities to minimise disruption to its customers.”

According to the USDA, these detections do not present an immediate public health concern and are not a threat to the food supply, Cal-Maine noted.

“Also, according to the USDA, HPAI cannot be transmitted through safely handled and properly cooked eggs or poultry. There is no known risk related to HPAI associated with eggs that are currently in the market and no eggs have been recalled,” it added.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData

The company said there have been no positive tests for HPAI at any other of its locations to date.

“Cal-Maine Foods believes it has implemented and continues to maintain robust biosecurity programmes across all its locations. Additional strict protocols are in place designed to prevent exposure from the Kansas facility to other locations, including the company’s nearby layer complex which houses approximately one million hens,” it said.

It said it is continuing to work closely with federal, state and local government officials and industry groups to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks and effectively manage the response.

According to the USDA, as of 11 December, more than 72.5 million chickens, turkeys and other birds have been wiped out since the avian flu outbreak began in February 2022. The number of commercial flocks impacted is 426.

Some 47 states have been affected, with 23 reported in the last 30 days, USDA reported.

Avian flu has been affecting other markets. In October, South African retailers limited the number of eggs consumers could buy as a result of production shortages caused by avian flu.