Center Fresh confirms 4.3 million layer HPAI case in Iowa

The U.S. egg producer verified that the recent Sioux County avian influenza outbreak occurred at one of its facilities.

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Center Fresh Group confirmed the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak affecting nearly 4.3 million layers reported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on May 28 occurred at one if its facilities.

Center Fresh Group President J.T. Dean told media outlet that the outbreak was most likely a result of wild birds passing through the area.

“Unfortunately, this is an environmental challenge that’s out there, and we don’t think this was spread from another farm. We think this was an introduction from a migratory bird,” Dean said.

“Maybe a bird landed in the wrong spot or went to the bathroom in the wrong spot, and it takes only such a small amount of virus to get one chicken sick. It could have come through an air inlet or something like that, which based on where we detected these sick birds, that’s kind of what we think happened.”

Dean added that measures were previously taken to discourage wild birds from landing throughout the property, including on-site vegetation management and installing nets above open water.

“In a situation like this, it’s not really about money. It’s about making sure our team members are taken care of along with our customers and community and stakeholders. I think we’ll manage to navigate this and be just fine and get production back for our customers as soon as we can,” Dean stated.

The facility houses roughly 10 million layers total and has 150 employees that will remain fully employed until the farm is back to full operation later in 2024.

According to WATT Global Media’s 2024 Top Egg Producer’s report, Center Fresh Group is the seventh largest egg producer in the U.S. with 12.53 million layers. Center Fresh Group is comprised of Center Fresh Egg Farm, Sioux County Egg Farm, Hawkeye Pride and Center Fresh Africa-Mozambique and produces conventionally raised and cage-free eggs, as well as liquid egg products.

To learn more about HPAI cases in commercial poultry flocks in the United States, Mexico and Canada, see an interactive map on 

View our continuing coverage of the global avian influenza situation

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