An outbreak at the world’s largest chicken and fish supplier has caused the biggest food chain to halt its production at its plants in Australia and New Zealand.
The outbreak has hit a number of outlets, including major supermarkets, fast-food outlets and convenience stores, with some stores reporting significant food shortages.
The Food Safety Authority of Australia (FSA) has warned the outbreak is spreading quickly and there is a high risk of widespread illness and deaths.
It is currently unclear how the virus is being spread.
Australia’s largest poultry processor, Fry’s, said on Monday that it had suspended its operations and halted all operations at the company’s Australian and New South Wales plant at Parramatta.
Fry’s has about 20,000 employees in Australia, which accounts for about 30 per cent of the company.
It said it was also suspending operations at other locations in Australia including its Australian headquarters in Brisbane, and its Brisbane office.
Fry was the only poultry processor to report a significant food shortage on Monday, with the company confirming that the outbreak had impacted its processing capacity.
“It’s very difficult to keep up with the growth in demand,” Fry’s spokesman David Anderson said.
In the United States, there are now more than 200 cases of coronaviruses linked to poultry, including H5N1.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the current rate of new coronivirus infections in the US is over 300 per day.
About two million Americans have been infected with coronaviroc virus, the second largest pandemic in the world after the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1919.
A report by the US government’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices warned that a recent resurgence of coronovirus has increased the risk of severe disease in young children, including severe acute respiratory infections (SARS).