An Update on Avian Influenza

How we keep the girls safe in light of Avian Influenza

November 21, 2022

On November 19th, 2022, we were notified that a farm producing Vital Farms eggs was impacted by Avian Influenza (AI). This is the first time one of our farms has had a confirmed positive case of AI. 

Avian Influenza occurs when migratory waterfowl pass over farm areas and leave droppings containing the virus. “Bird flu” does not normally infect humans, and the risk of transmission by consuming shell eggs is low, but it is a serious issue for chickens that typically spikes in the spring and fall during migration periods. Since early 2022, more than 49 million birds in 46 states have either died as a result of bird flu or have been culled (euthanized) because they were exposed to infected birds.  

We’re working directly with the one impacted farm in Vital Farms’ network to follow all of the state-mandated protocols and we’re committed to supporting them through this incredibly difficult time. Because we source our eggs from over 300 family farms and this is an isolated incident on one farm, there’s no anticipated material impact to our overall supply.  

We continue to track the issue closely. In addition to the work we’re doing with this single impacted farm, we’re working with our farmers, veterinary experts, state officials, and auditors to keep our girls as safe as possible. As you’d expect from us, we will be as transparent and proactive as possible about how this impacts all of our stakeholders, and we’ll post any major developments on this page as the situation evolves. 

March 28, 2022

We want to update our stakeholders on Avian Influenza, a virus that affects chickens and has been recently reported in the UK and U.S. For background, avian influenza occurs when migratory waterfowl pass over farm areas and leave droppings containing the virus. First and foremost, we’re thinking of any farmers and animals that have been affected by this virus. 

Our Farm Support crew has been following this virus since cases were first reported in Europe several months ago. We’ve been working with our farmers, veterinary partners, and government health officials to protect the health of our girls. We also sought guidance from our animal welfare auditors including Certified Humane® and Oregon Tilth to ensure any approach we take has their approval as it relates to animal welfare standards.    

At this time, our veterinary partners, certifying bodies, and state health officials have strongly recommended that we keep our hens indoors, and we are following this guidance. We’ve also implemented heightened biosecurity measures across our network of 275 farms. Because avian influenza is spread by wild migratory fowl, hens with outdoor access could be particularly vulnerable. We shared this decision with our auditors who agree with this approach. While the hens are inside the barn, our farmers continue to prioritize animal welfare which includes carefully managing barn ventilation and providing high-quality foraging materials and enrichments.    

While we hope the girls will be out on pasture again soon, we believe this is the best approach to keep them as safe as possible. 

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