May 14, 2015 / 10:16 PM / 4 years ago

Factbox: U.S. bird flu outbreak in poultry

(Reuters) - The United States is dealing with its worst outbreak of bird flu on record. More than 33 million chickens, turkeys and other birds have been culled since last December, and two strains of the highly contagious H5 virus - H5N2 and H5N8 - have been confirmed.

This is not the same avian influenza virus that has caused human infections in Africa, Asia and Europe. Migrating birds are believed to be responsible for some of the virus’ spread and researchers are still studying how it is reaching poultry farms.

In the current outbreak, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed bird flu in 16 states so far.

Four states (Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska) have declared an emergency response to deal with the outbreak. The H5N2 virus so far has been found in 14 states, mostly in the Midwest, but ranging from Arkansas to Oregon. The H5N8 virus has appeared in California, Idaho, Indiana, Oregon and Washington.

In Canada, the H5N2 strain was confirmed in Ontario and British Columbia, and the H5N1 strain was confirmed in British Columbia.

Dozens of countries have imposed total or partial bans on U.S. poultry and egg imports since the outbreak of what is called highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

Each of the top 10 importers has introduced restrictions. Total bans have been imposed by China, South Korea and Angola, whose markets were valued at nearly $700 million last year.

Following are facts about the U.S. poultry market from the USDA, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association and company filings.


Broiler chickens in 2014

Georgia: 1.414 billion, 15.5 pct of U.S. total

Alabama: 1.140 billion, 12.5 pct

Arkansas: 1.029 billion, 11.3 pct

North Carolina: 855 million, 9.4 pct

Mississippi: 778 million, 8.5 pct

U.S. total: 9.134 billion

Meat-producing turkeys in 2014

Minnesota: 45 million, 19.1 pct of U.S. total

Arkansas: 29 million, 12.3 pct

North Carolina: 28 million, 11.9 pct

Indiana: 19 million, 8.1 pct

Missouri: 16 million, 6.8 pct

U.S. total: 235 million

Egg production in 2014

Iowa: 16.449 billion, 16.5 pct of U.S. total

Ohio: 8.731 billion, 8.8 pct

Indiana: 7.747 billion, 7.8 pct

Pennsylvania: 7.570 billion, 7.6 pct

Texas: 5.109 billion, 5.1 pct

U.S. total: 99.768 billion


1. MEXICO ($1.47 billion in U.S. imports in 2014)

Mostly imports poultry meat and eggs, as well as fertilized eggs for hatching. Currently banning imports of fresh and frozen poultry and poultry products from birds originating from, slaughtered or processed in 10 affected states, including all eight states where outbreaks have occurred in commercial flocks. Exceptions for raw poultry shipped for thermal processing or heat treatment in Mexico. The country expanded the ban last week to live birds and eggs from Iowa.

2. CANADA ($741 million)

Banning imports of raw poultry and products from or near affected counties in seven states and all counties in six other states. Also barring imports of certain processed products.

3. HONG KONG ($573 million)

Banning imports of poultry meat and poultry meat products from birds raised, processed, slaughtered or shipped from affected counties in 13 affected states on or after specific dates. Fully cooked or heat treated products exempt.

4. CHINA ($317 million)

All U.S. poultry and products banned since January 2015.

5. ANGOLA ($264 million)

All U.S. poultry and products banned since January 2015.


1. Butterball: 1.3 billion pounds processed in 2013

2. Jennie-O Turkey Store: 1.25 billion pounds

3. Cargill [CARG.UL]: 1.07 billion pounds

4. Farbest Foods: 411 million pounds

5. Hillshire Brands Co: 402 million pounds


1. Cal-Maine Foods Inc: 33 million egg-laying hens in production in 2013

2. Rose Acre Farms: 22 million

3. Moark LLC: 13 million

4. Daybreak Foods: 13 million

5. Rembrandt Enterprises: 13 million


1. Tyson Foods Inc: Capacity to process 40 million chickens per week. Major supplier to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Supplied products to 130 countries in 2014.

2. Pilgrim’s Pride Corp: Capacity to process more than 34.7 million birds per week. A leading supplier in Mexico.

3. Sanderson Farms Inc: processed more than 3 billion pounds of poultry products in 2014.

4. Perdue Farms: can process more than 3 billion pounds of chicken and turkey annually.


1. Brazil: 3.558 million tonnes exported in 2014

2. United States: 3.313 million tonnes

3. European Union: 1.134 million tonnes

4. Thailand: 546,000 tonnes

5. Turkey: 379,000 tonnes

Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Jo Winterbottom and Matthew Lewis

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