Wisconsin bird flu spread impacts local food prices

About 48,000 more birds will need to be killed in Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, which said the highly contagious bird flu was found in a Barron County commercial turkey flock.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it is not of immediate concern for human health, but as the bird flu spreads through Wisconsin, it does have other effects.

From a small roadside poultry product farm in Racine County with about 200 birds to an egg farm in Palmyra with millions of chickens and now the turkey operation in Barron County, the bird flu is spreading through domestic flocks in the state. With that happening in other parts of the country as well, the bird flu is impacting local food prices.

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Having free range over the menu at Beerline Café means a lot of dishes with eggs.

"I like showing people you can eat healthy and consciously, and it doesn’t have to break your bank account," said head chef Corissa Grundman.

Now, each egg broken is having a bigger impact on the café's bank. When you go through roughly 30 dozen eggs per weekend, triple the normal cost makes a difference.

"They’ve tripled, definitely," Grundman said. "Especially for like the organic or free-range it’s just astronomical. Very high prices."

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As the bird flu spreads, Grundman said the vegetarian café's supplier tells them this will likely be a long-term problem.

In Jefferson County, state officials said they hope to finish disposing the carcasses of nearly three million chickens from a Palmyra egg farm early next week, adding that the farm where the chickens are being composted will have to go through extensive disinfecting before allowing any new birds on the property.

Map of confirmed bird flu outbreaks in Wisconsin

While it is all driving up egg prices, for now, Beerline Café said they will eat the cost.

"And not put that on the consumer until absolutely necessary," said Grundman.

To stop bird flu from spreading, state officials ask poultry owners to move birds indoors if possible and continue using biosecurity practices. That is something the president of the Racine County Farm Bureau stressed to FOX6 News: When it can spread through shoes, simple things like washing boots can make a difference.

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