May 28, 2004,
as reported by just-food.com: Avian influenza
has been identified in a Pilgrim’s Pride commercial
breeder flock at a contract grower’s farm in Northeast
Texas. The operation whose chickens lay eggs for hatching
diagnosed the flu after routine blood tests conducted
on the 52-week-old hens returned positive for the virus.
The Pittsburg, Texas based poultry processor reported
there was little evidence the birds were sick before
the positive blood work. The lack of clinical signs
of the disease is an indicator of a low-pathogenic strain,
according to the Texas Animal Health Commission.
The affected farm, located about six miles from the
nearest commercial poultry farm, has been isolated and
the flock has been destroyed on-site to prevent the
potential spread of the disease, said O.B. Goolsby,
president and chief operating officer of Pilgrim's Pride.
Goolsby said the virus was discovered as part of voluntary
testing procedures in cooperation with Texas Poultry
Federation and State of Texas authorities.
"Our poultry testing in Texas is believed to be
the most aggressive in the nation, with every breeder
flock tested every ten weeks," Goolsby said. "As
a result of this diligence, we believe that the virus
can be contained, particularly since this flock is so
far from any other poultry farms. Accordingly, we believe
this development will not have a material impact on