Farmers in Avian Influenza Outbreak Zone Permitted to sell Stockpiled Eggs Amid Supermarket Restrictions


Wes Humpage’s western Victorian farm was running out of storage space when grocery stores all around the country started restricting eggs. In the tiny hamlet of Maude, about 30 minutes to the northwest of Geelong, Mr. Humpage owns and operates a free-range egg farm. Meredith, fifteen minutes further up the road, is home to four egg farms where the high pathogenicity H7N3 strain of avian influenza has been confirmed.

Despite the fact that there had been no indication of the virus among the birds raised on Mr. Humpage’s pasture last week, the family-run business was shut down due to the avian outbreak in Victoria.

After the first case of avian influenza (AI) was reported in May, he was ordered to hold off on selling any eggs from his farm for at least 28 days. Concurrently, Coles stores throughout Australia, excluding Western Australia, implemented a cap on the quantity of eggs that customers could bring home. “It was a real shock when we know that we don’t have AI on our farm,” said Humpage.

“We were approved to deliver all eggs that were produced before the eighth of June, so that’s going to clear out a big chunk of the backlog,” he stated. Across the country, the egg industry is still rife with uncertainty.The Victorian Farmers Federation reported that approximately one in every sixteen egg-laying chickens had been destroyed, resulting in a daily reduction of approximately 450,000 eggs produced in Victoria, the third-largest egg-producing state in Australia.

There are five verified outbreaks affecting about 800,000 birds in Victoria’s southwest. Murray Watt, the federal minister of agriculture, stated that although the federal and state governments were making every effort to contain the spread, the industry was still not fully recovered.

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