Holiday Turkey prices expected to climb as Avian Flu cases increase

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ByNico Payne via KFSN logo
Friday, November 4, 2022
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Experts say that there should be plenty of frozen turkeys to go around, but if you are looking for a fresh free-range California turkey this year, you may be out of luck.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Avian Influenza or "bird flu" has been plaguing parts of the country for months, and now more cases are being detected in California.

And as we near the holidays what does this mean for the price of turkey or eggs?

Experts say that there should be plenty of frozen turkeys to go around, but if you are looking for a fresh free-range California turkey this year, you may be out of luck.

"There will not be enough to go around to everyone who wants them in California," said Bill Mattos, President of the California Poultry Foundation.

Poultry farms continue to be at risk as Avian influenza continues to spread across the country.

Back in August, the State Department of Food and Agriculture reported a Fresno poultry farm as the first commercial facility in the state to contract the virus, resulting in the euthanization of nearly 34,000 chickens to prevent further spread.

"The ones that got affected were more free-range, open-air ranches. We're trying to keep the farmers to keep their birds indoors until this passes," explained Mattos.

This year, the virus struck earlier than expected, straining the national egg supply and increasing costs. Iowa was one of the hardest hit states, which produces the majority of the country's egg supply.

"They lost millions of birds, Ohio lost millions of birds, Minnesota lost millions of turkeys," added Mattos

On Monday, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo detected two cases, and on Wednesday, Monterey County reported its first case at a duck breeding facility.

When it comes to finding turkey, chicken, and eggs at the store experts say you won't have a hard time getting your hands on what you need. But if you're looking for fresh or organic, you'll have to pay for it.

"The cost of turkeys will be up for fresh natural free range, probably 50%," said Mattos.

"If you want a California turkey, fresh, natural, you're going to have to reserve it with your supermarket," said Mattos.

Experts also say that frozen turkeys are commonly used to lure shoppers into supermarkets, so you might still be able to score a deal this year.