Cal-Maine Foods, the largest fresh egg producer in the United States, has halted production at its Texas plant following a discovery of bird flu among its chickens on Tuesday. The company has culled 1.6 million adults hens along with 337,000 young ones.

The average price of twelve Grade A eggs was $3 in February, per the Consumer Price Index. Egg prices are down from their peak of $4.82 in January 2023, but they are up from $2 in the fall. Eggs cost more now than at any point since April 2023.

A deadly strain of H5N1 bird flu has been spreading in both birds and mammals. The second case of a human infected by the avian flu was recorded in Texas on Monday, according to state officials. The person was reportedly infected after having contact with sick diary cows.

“We have tested around a dozen symptomatic people who work at dairies, and only the one person has tested positive,” explained Texas Department of State Health Services spokeswoman Lara M. Anton.  The primary symptom is said to be conjunctivitis, otherwise known as “pink eye.”

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Cal-Maine reported it had culled around 3.6 percent of its flock after its facility in Parmer County, Texas tested positive for influenza. The company is working closely with the government and agriculture groups to limit further outbreaks.

The states of Texas, Kansas, and Michigan also recently reported they had cases of H5N1 among cattle. New Mexico and Idaho are working to determine if recent diseases seen in cows are the same virus. The cattle survive the virus, but they wind up producing less milk and are more hesitant to eat.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) says there is no cause for concern, as the influenza cannot be transferred through sufficiently cooked eggs. Cal-Maine announced that no eggs have been recalled.

A vaccine to treat the current strain is about 18 months away, the USDA said in February.

Since the virus appeared in South America in 2022, about 50,000 seals and sea lions have been killed as have 500,000 birds.

Shane Devine is a writer covering politics, business, and culture for Valuetainment. Follow Shane’s work here.

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