The virus that’s ravaged poultry flocks in the US and Europe has just hit Brazil, the world’s largest chicken exporter, for the first time ever.
Avian influenza was detected in two wild birds on the coast of Espirito Santo, a state in the nation’s southeast, according to a statement from Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry. The country is home to some of the world’s biggest poultry producers including BRF SA and JBS SA. Shares of both companies declined.
The recent surge in US egg prices was largely due to the worst-ever global bird flu outbreak that’s devastated hen flocks. If the disease spreads in Brazil’s commercial poultry flocks, chicken prices could follow suit. Exports from the South American nation have jumped to records as the country filled the supply gap left by other producers that were hit by the flu.
For now, export flows of chicken shouldn’t be disrupted because the bird flu cases were reported in migratory birds, and buyers of the nation’s poultry shipments are unlikely to ban cargoes, Brazil’s chicken exporter group, ABPA, said, citing recommendations from the World Organisation for Animal Health. Local supplies should also remain unchanged, ABPA said.
Still, Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Carlos Favaro declared a state of emergency alert to increase mobilization efforts from poultry producers and the official veterinary service.
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