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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bird flu could hurt turkey sales

Hormel says it will sell less turkey this year because of a spreading bird flu outbreak.

So far the virus has been found at farms housing 2.3 million turkeys, all of which have died of the disease or have been killed or soon will be in order to stem the spread of avian flu. Most of the birds were in Minnesota, the largest turkey-producing state in the U.S.

Big commercial farms have been hit hard, and Hormel said Monday it is experiencing significant turkey supply-chain problems. It expects outbreaks to decrease as the weather improves.

Hormel Foods Corp., citing its upcoming second-quarter report, said Monday that it can’t comment on how turkey prices or the Thanksgiving turkey season will be affected. It is scheduled to report its earnings May 20 and said it will provide more details about its turkey business then.

According to a Jennie-O Turkey Store website, the highly contagious H5N2 strain of avian flu has been confirmed at 19 farms that are either independent contract growers for Jennie-O or are company-owned. All but one of those are in Minnesota.

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