Foie gras lovers, eat up now because there may be a foie gras shortage this holiday season! A strain of H5N8 bird flu was detected on a duck farm in Southwest France last week. The H5N8 virus was actually detected in wild ducks in Normandy last week, but this is the first time the virus has had an outbreak on a farm in France. As France is the largest poultry breeder in the European Union, this may affect poultry and poultry product availability and pricing in the near future. Furthermore, it means that an international ban will be held in place that prevents France from exporting poultry and foie gras beyond Europe.
So far the virus has killed about two thousand ducks out of five thousand ducks on a farm in Tarn. The rest of the ducks will be culled to prevent further spread of the flu virus. Although there is no evidence yet of the virus infecting humans, there is some risk if it continues to spread. Luckily, bird flu cannot be transmitted to humans by consuming food products of infected birds. The greatest risk is to people who work on farms with infected birds.