Tags: turkey | farm | quarantined | california | foster farms

Turkey Farm Quarantined in California After Avian Flu Outbreak

By    |   Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 08:42 AM

A California turkey farm was quarantined after a strain of avian influenza was detected Friday, making it the first commercial flock case of the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain in the Pacific Northwest.

The findings at Foster Farms' Stanislaus County ranch last week sparked federal and state regulators to increase investigation of poultry ranches, live bird markets, and migratory birds, the Merced Sun-Star reported.

Inspectors did not find any additional cases of the avian flu in turkeys at the Foster Farms ranch near Waterford, California. The disease is harmful to birds but not people, the newspaper noted.

"At this point, we're aware of nothing else, but we want to be sure," Steve Lyle, director of public affairs for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, told the Sun-Star.

Reuters reported that state and government labs had confirmed the findings of the avian flu from samples given to it from Foster Farms, which had experienced a recent spike in bird deaths, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The agriculture department requires that the ranch be quarantined with the agency humanely killing or destroying the birds to prevent the spread of the disease to migratory and commercial flocks.

Bill Mattos, president of the California Poultry Federation of Modesto, told the Sun-Star that could mean killing as many as 200,000 turkeys at Foster Farms. The Foster Farms flock accounted for 9 percent of the 2.24 million turkeys produced in Stanislaus County in 2013, noted the county agricultural commissioner.

The National Turkey Federation told the Sun-Star that the USDA's actions with Foster Farms were proper and showed that safeguards are working.

"This is something that we have been prepared for and aware of," Keith Williams, vice president for communications and marketing of the Washington, D.C.-based association, told the Sun-Star. "All of the procedures have been followed."

Bloomberg reported that the avian flu had been reported in wild birds and backyard poultry in the Pacific Northwest, causing China to ban poultry imports last month.

"At this point, it's been mostly in wild birds," Will Sawyer, a vice president of U.S. animal protein research at Atlanta's Rabobank International, told Bloomberg. "There is still the risk that the West Coast could see it spread throughout that part of the country. For most of U.S. production, we're still 1,000 miles away."

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A California turkey farm was quarantined after a strain of avian influenza was detected Friday, making it the first commercial flock case of the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain in the Pacific Northwest.
turkey, farm, quarantined, california, foster farms
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2015-42-27
Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 08:42 AM
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