News has popped up again about bird flu becoming a problem in the US, followed quickly by the info that thousands of hens in central states would have to be put to death.
To put it into some pretty scary numbers:
- up to 5.3 million hens in Iowa may be killed (and this is where 1 in every 5 eggs in the US is gathered)
- the farm that was recently hit help 10% of the egg producing hens in America
- up to 7.8 million turkeys and chickens have been infected since March in 7 other midwestern states
Fortunately, numbers should die down soon as the weather warms. But that doesn't help the media from speculating. But is there really a threat to humans?
Can I still eat eggs?
Simply put, yes. Overall, the virus spreads quickly but is easy to track so infected birds are kept out of the food supply in all ways. Additionally, when any birds are affected at farms, all the remaining birds are usually put to rest as well. Sad, but that's currently the approved method for dealing with such a contagious out break.
Also, when the birds get sick, they usually stop laying eggs nearly right away. Any eggs that are lain are too weak to make it through the inspection process because the shells are weak and the shape of the eggs is often "wrong" which flags them as not good to consume.
The majority of affected birds so far have been turkeys, specifically in Minnesota (where the many lakes attract the wild fowl that are carrying the H5N2 virus). Still, no eggs or meat coming out of any of the turkey or poultry farms has been effected, so yes! You can still eat.