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Prime US Egg Maker Idles Texas Plant After Hen Flu Outbreak

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Cal-Maine Meals Inc., the most important egg producer within the US, has culled roughly 3.6% of its flock after birds at a Texas facility examined constructive for avian flu, including to considerations over a widening outbreak.

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Practically 1.6 million laying hens and 337,000 pullets had been destroyed and manufacturing on the Parmer County plant has briefly ceased, the corporate stated in an announcement. Shares of the producer plunged as a lot as 6.1%, the most important intraday decline since October, earlier than erasing declines.

That’s the most important fowl flu casualty within the US since Dec. 7, when 2.6 million birds had been killed at an egg farm in Ohio after the virus was discovered within the facility, based on data from the US Division of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Well being Inspection Service. Cal-Maine additionally reported an outbreak at a Kansas facility in December that affected 684,000 hens.

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The newest Cal-Maine infections come at a time when extremely pathogenic flu is spreading in dairy cattle herds — together with in Texas — elevating considerations in regards to the potential influence on the meals chain. In 2022, the worst-ever global outbreak of the illness prompted greater than 72 million birds to be killed within the US to gradual the unfold of the virus.

That is the primary important outbreak of the spring migration season, and it “shines a highlight on the prospect of extra circumstances impacting broader business manufacturing and tightening the egg provide,” Stephens analysts Ben Bienvenu and Jack Hardin wrote in a word.

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The corporate stated it’s working intently with authorities and business teams to mitigate the chance of future outbreaks. It added that the virus can’t be transmitted via safely dealt with and correctly cooked eggs, and that no eggs have been recalled.

Cal-Maine individually introduced fiscal third-quarter earnings Tuesday that surpassed analyst estimates, with sturdy client demand pushing egg gross sales to a file by quantity. Shares climbed by about 7% in after-hours buying and selling.

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Eggs price $2.47 a dozen final week, lower than half the file excessive from December 2022, based on USDA information.

Copyright 2024 Bloomberg.

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USA
Texas
Maine

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