CEO optimistic avian flu won’t fiscally hurt Maple Leaf Foods

Maple Leaf Foods CEO Michael McCain says it is too early to determine how much of a financial impact the avian influenza outbreak will have on the company, but as things are today, he doesn't expect the impact to be significant.

Roy Graber Headshot
(Courtesy Maple Leaf Foods)
(Courtesy Maple Leaf Foods)

The poultry losses in Canada and the rest of North America to the avian influenza (AI) outbreak are not lost on Maple Leaf Foods CEO Michael H. McCain.

But still, at this point he does not feel like it will cause any meaningful financial impact on the company in the coming months.

McCain commented on the current avian influenza situation while speaking during a quarterly earnings call on May 4.

“Clearly, as 2022 unfolds, predominantly as the back half of the year unfolds, there will be supply implications and reductions of supply that will influence the market,” said McCain.

McCain said it is still too early to provide any financial projections that the outbreak may cause the company, but he said there are “two moving parts” to AI’s potential financial impacts. One is negative, while the other is something McCain sees as positive.

“The negative is there is a cost attached to the reduced supply. The positive is it happens to be very supportive of the market pricing in all of north America in poultry and will likely be bullish revenue. The sum total of those two we feel today will not be material to our results,” said McCain. “Because it’s an unfolding situation, we cannot be certain about that, but that’s what we see today.”

To date, commercial poultry flocks in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan have been affected by avian influenza, with the number of birds affected exceeding 1.26 million as of the day of the earnings call. McCain did not state how many, if any, flocks raised for Maple Leaf Foods have been affected by the virus.

However, McCain also delivered assurance that Maple Leaf Foods and the greater Canadian poultry industry was doing all it could to reduce the spread of avian influenza.

“We have a significantly enhanced containment protocol across the entire industry in Canada today versus a number of years ago, and we are leaning on that as an industry collaboratively,” said McCain. “Maple Leaf has increased its very strict biosecurity procedures to help prevent the spread of AI in areas where it currently exists, and all of the appropriate containment action are in place.

To learn more about HPAI cases in North American commercial poultry flocks, see an interactive map on

Read our ongoing coverage of the global avian influenza outbreak.

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