A poultry farm in Howard Lake, Minnesota, that supplies the nation's largest supermarkets with three million eggs per day experienced a devastating fire over the weekend.
Forsman Farms spokesperson Jon Austin told local media outlet KARE that estimates aren't firm yet, but anywhere between "tens of thousands of chickens were killed, up to a couple hundreds of thousands." The spokesperson continued and said chickens in adjacent barns were affected by smoke inhalation.
Video posted on YouTube by Eddie Olson shows massive flames lighting up the night sky on Saturday.
"It's a lot of chickens. It's a hit to the egg market, it's people's jobs, it's a local community. So any time anything big like that happens, it's not good," Olson said.
A Wright County egg producer is evaluating the damage left behind from a Saturday night fire. A Forsman Farms spokesperson said they do not have a firm number yet but he estimates at least tens of thousands of chickens were killed. https://t.co/JPkqaQqO6Y @kare11 pic.twitter.com/51F8gE4oea— Heidi Wigdahl (@HeidiWigdahl) May 30, 2022
It's unclear exactly how the fire started though impacts could be felt at supermarkets. This year alone, retail egg prices have soared 41% because of the deadly bird flu wreaking havoc on the country's egg-laying hen flock.
Since January, the outbreak has spread to 32 states, killing more than 37 million chickens and turkeys. Of that, 29 million egg-laying hens have died, or about 10% of the U.S.' total flock of 300 million. Bloomberg recently reported the bird flu is "shaping up to be the worst outbreak of its kind."
The blaze at the commercial egg farm in Minnesota comes as dozens of food processing facilities across Canada and the U.S. have experienced mystery fires and explosions over the past year, helping to strain the North American food supply chain.