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More than 14,000 turkeys on Jaindl farm in Lehigh County destroyed after testing positive for avian flu. Loss will affect Christmas supply
Morning Call - 11/10/2022
More than 14,000 turkeys from a Lehigh County poultry farm have been destroyed after a highly contagious avian flu was confirmed in the flock.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website, which tracks outbreaks across the U.S., recorded 14,500 birds affected by the highly pathogenic avian influenza Nov. 4. David Jaindl, owner of Jaindl Farms in Orefield, confirmed Wednesday the cases affected the company’s flock.
“The presence [of] HPAI at our facility is part of a nationwide challenge that has affected poultry farms across the country,” he said. “The impact has reached 46 states and affected 50 million birds across the USA since February.”
The majority of Thanksgiving turkeys were processed before the outbreak, he said. However, the loss will affect the company’s Christmas supply.
“There was a very modest impact on one of the barns,” Jaindl said. “But unfortunately, all the barns on that particular farm had to be destroyed.”
Jaindl also noted that the avian flu doesn’t present a food safety concern.
Jaindl Farms processes about 750,000 turkeys a year, according to its website.
The USDA and state Department of Agriculture did not respond to requests for comment.
Statewide, 21 commercial flocks and nine backyard flocks have tested positive, according to the USDA’s website. So far, more than 4 million birds have been affected.
The highly contagious bird flu was first detected in March along the East Coast in birds along the North American Atlantic flyway. It can cause birds to have symptoms including sneezing, coughing, walking or swimming in circles, and swelling of the legs and feet.
While the disease can cause extreme illness and/or death in wild and domestic birds, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the risk to people remains low.
In August, a case was detected in a backyard flock of ducks and chickens in Upper Mount Bethel Township. In response, the state quarantined the farm and established a 6-mile control area around the farm.
Morning Call reporter Molly Bilinski can be reached at email@example.com.
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