CEO: Cal-Maine in lockdown mode to shun avian influenza

Cal-Maine Foods is doing everything it can to protect itsflocks from avian influenza, the egg company's CEO told investors on April 24.

Cal-Maine Foods is doing everything it can to protect its flocks from avian influenza, the CEO of the largest egg producing company in the United States told investors on April 24.

Speaking at the 19th Annual Burkenroad Reports Investment Conference, Dolph Baker, chairman, president and CEO of Cal-Maine Foods, updated investors about the deadly virus that has been confirmed in 17 states in 2015.

While Baker noted that avian influenza (AI) has had a more devastating effect on the turkey industry in northern states, he added it has hit several  large commercial egg operations in the United States, impacting more than 5 million layers and pullets. However, none of those outbreaks have occurred in Cal-Maine Foods operations, nor have any layer operations in states where Cal-Maine operates experienced avian influenza outbreaks.

“Our company, along with the egg industry, has been very concerned about AI,” said Baker. “We’re pretty much on a lockdown mode, We’re inspecting all vehicles in and out of our locations.”

While the USDA’s mandatory policy calling for birds in infected flocks to be stamped out does help reduce the spread of the virus, Baker said the industry can probably expect continued outbreaks.

“We will not let our guard down,” he said.

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