UEP Statement (3/5/17)
On March 5, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed that High Pathogen Avian Influenza (HPAI), strain H7, was detected on a commercial broiler (meat chicken) flock in Tennessee. Beginning in November 2016, HPAI has been confirmed in several Asian and European countries; for more on global AI detections see the World Organization for Animal Health website. For information on U.S. detections and biosecurity efforts, see the USDA-APHIS website.
For the latest industry response to this announcement, please see the press release located on the right.
In the spring of 2015, more than 12 percent of America’s egg laying hens (35 million) were affected by an AI outbreak which disrupted egg production and the availability of eggs. While it took several months, U.S. egg farmers worked diligently to restore the egg supply to pre-AI levels. Since the 2015 AI outbreak, U.S. egg farmers have made significant increases to biosecurity measures on their farms to protect their flocks. Comprehensive disease prevention protocols on commercial egg farms include, but are not limited to, restricting farm access, preventing hens from exposure to wild and migratory birds, increasing veterinary monitoring of flocks and using protective gear at all times. For examples, see this information on disease prevention from United Egg Producers. USDA has provided leadership through its HPAI Plan released January, 2016, and egg farms and others are working to be as prepared as possible in case the AI virus returns.
While we appreciate the interest in access to egg farms, the top priority for egg producers is keeping their flocks health and free from disease. Enhanced biosecurity protocols that greatly limit person and vehicle access are being implemented on farms to prevent recurrence of the disease. Farm tours will not be available at this time.
See some of the most commonly asked questions here.