US poultry industry on high alert, as first case this year discovered on Tyson farm in Tennessee

A broiler breeder farm in Tennessee has been hit by highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza, in the first case in the US this year. The flock of 73,500 chickens will be culled and South Korea has imposed an immediate ban on US poultry imports.

According to the National Chicken Council, the farm contains parent stock for broilers which are supplied to the world’s largest poultry firm, Tyson Foods.

“The virus was detected on a single farm after experiencing increased mortality, and depopulation of the birds on the farm is complete,” said Ashley Peterson, NCC senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs.  “All flocks located within a six-mile radius of the farm will be tested and will not be transported unless they test negative for the virus.”

Sections of the US poultry industry were devastated by bird flu in 2015, when a major outbreak led to the culling of 48 million birds.

“The US has the most robust monitoring and surveillance programs in the world – and detailed plans are in place and being executed at the federal and state level to control spreading among flocks and eliminate the virus completely, “Peterson added.  “All US flocks are tested year-round for avian influenza, and if a single bird in a flock were to test positive for avian flu, then none of those birds would be allowed to enter the food supply.

“NCC is encouraging our members to maintain heightened biosecurity protocols,” Peterson said.  “We will also be working with our government and trading partners to minimize any potential disruptions to our export markets.”  

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