Coles Limits Egg Purchases After Bird Flu Discovery in Several Australian Farms

By Jose Resurreccion

Jun 10, 2024 02:24 AM EDT

Coles Limits Egg Purchases After Bird Flu Discovery in Several Australian Farms
A customer walks past a Coles supermarket on March 19, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia.
(Photo : Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

Australian supermarket giant Coles announced over the weekend that it was limiting the number of eggs that customers could buy after traces of avian influenza were detected in several poultry farms in the state of Victoria. 

On the other hand, Woolworths and Aldi are not limiting egg sales.

Public broadcaster ABC reported that at least four farms were confirmed to have the high pathogenicity H7N3 strain of the bird flu, while another farm had an infection of the H7N9 strain. 

Almost half a million chickens across the five farms have been euthanized, and quarantine zones have been set up, which would restrict the movement of birds and equipment.

Australian Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said that he remains confident in the work of Victorian authorities to contain the outbreak so far, while Health Minister Mark Butler said that he was constantly being briefed about the matter.

READ NEXT: Australia Detects Bird Flu in Victorian Egg Farm, Plunging Area to Lockdown Amid Fears Strain Could be Similar to What Causes Mass Poultry Deaths Worldwide

Bird Flu Hurts Victorian Egg Industry

Victoria is the third largest egg-producing state in Australia. The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) said that the current bird flu outbreak has destroyed about one in 16 egg-laying chickens, reducing the state's supply to about 450,000 eggs per day.

Due to this, egg producers have warned last week that a potential shortage of eggs is imminent. 

These factors prompted Coles to issue a temporary limit of two egg cartons per customer in all its stores nationwide, except in Western Australia.

A spokesperson for the grocery chain said that they were "working closely with all of [its] suppliers" to ensure that the eggs they would sell remain available for its customers, as well as providing support to the industry due to bird flu. 

On the other hand, VFF vice president and egg farmer Danyel Cucinotta told consumers to shop around their local grocers, markets, and small independent stores to buy eggs.

Meanwhile, Eggs Australia managing director Rowan Mcmonnies told the ABC that the outbreak was slightly disrupting egg supply but should not create a crisis across the industry. 

Victoria's chief veterinarian Graeme Cooke also told SBS that eggs and poultry products from retailers are safe to consume. 

READ MORE: Australia Sues Medibank for Data Breach due to Russian Hacking

© 2024 VCPOST, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics