Thursday, June 13, 2024

Australian supermarket is limiting customers to just 2 egg cartons a day to ward off bird flu freakouts

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Major Australian supermarket chain Coles Group Ltd. is putting limits on egg purchases on fears of shortages as authorities try to counter the spread of avian influenza virus.

Customers in all states except Western Australia will be limited to buying two egg cartons a day, Coles said in a statement. 

The move comes after the highly pathogenic H7N3 strain of avian influenza was detected at a fifth farm in Victoria last week. Over half a million chickens have been euthanized in the state and about 450,000 eggs are being destroyed every day to contain the spread of the virus, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. 

Quarantine zones have been set up to restrict the movement of birds, feed and equipment near the infected farms after the first cases were detected last month. Last week, a man in Mexico died after contracting the H5N2 bird flu — a strain that hadn’t been confirmed in humans before. 

H7N3 is separate to the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has devastated wild bird and mammalian species across the globe in recent years, but has not been detected in Australia. In March, H5N1 was reported in dairy cows in the US, where it contaminated milk supplies and caused non-serious eye infections in two farm workers. 

Australian eggs remained safe to consume, and there was no risk of contaminated eggs getting into the supply chain, Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said on Monday. 

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