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Post Holdings Identifies Bird Flu Outbreak

Egg laying hens

CPG company Post Holdings reported Wednesday an avian flu outbreak at two of its third-party contracted egg-laying facilities.

The brand said that Michael Foods’ egg-laying flocks in Minnesota and Iowa tested positive for bird flu. Together, the facilities house approximately 5.7 million egg-laying hens, about 14 percent of Post’s controlled supply. 

The Environmental Protection Agency said that flocks are sometimes euthanized to prevent the spread of bird flu. In April, Cal-Maine foods said it "depopulated" roughly 1.6 million egg-laying hens and 337,000 young hens because of a recent outbreak.

According to data from the USDA, as of May 29, roughly 1.49 million birds have been affected by bird flu in the last month, a dramatic drop from last month’s 8.81 million . Seven commercial flocks and 7 backyard flocks across the country were also affected in the 30 days ending May 21. The outbreaks are concentrated in Minnesota and Michigan.

“Detections are higher in the fall and spring because we continue to see wild birds spreading [the] virus as they migrate to their seasonal homes,” said the USDA in a statement. Additionally, the government organization noted that the virus has been found in livestock in nine states across the country.