Aussie supermarket imposes egg purchase limits amid avian flu outbreak

The outbreak has impacted farms in south-east Australia, with customers limited to two cartons per person as more than a million birds are culled.

Aussie supermarket imposes egg purchase limits amid avian flu outbreak
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Woolworths has announced a restriction on egg purchases in NSW, ACT, and Victoria as avian flu continues to affect poultry farms in south-east Australia.

The supermarket chain has introduced a two-carton per person limit due to a "delay" in stock availability. This disruption is attributed to the closure of a packing shed amid the bird flu spread.

"Along with other retailers, we're expecting a short-term delay in stock from one of our egg suppliers in NSW, ACT, and Victoria, due to the temporary closure of one of their packing sheds," a Woolworths spokesperson explained. "Their supply is expected to recover over the next week as they ramp up operations at their other sites."

Woolworths told media that the majority of their customers typically purchase just one carton of eggs at a time and urged shoppers to maintain their usual buying habits.

The purchase limit follows confirmations of avian flu at two farms in NSW's Hawkesbury region and another in the ACT, resulting in a massive cull of chickens to prevent the virus's spread.

NSW Agriculture Minister Tara Moriarty claimed that bird flu poses a low risk to the public, with human transmissions being very rare.

"Avian Influenza is not a food safety concern, and it is safe to eat poultry meat and eggs after proper handling and cooking," she said.

Since 9 June 2024, Coles has also enforced a limit on egg purchases across stores in all states except WA, in response to the detection of bird flu in Victoria.

A Coles spokesperson stated:

"We have introduced a temporary limit of two egg cartons per customer in our national stores, excluding in-store Western Australia. We are working closely with all of our suppliers to ensure eggs remain available for our customers and we are providing support to the industry in responding to the Avian Flu cases in Victoria."

All affected farms have been quarantined, with no products, eggs, or machinery allowed to move in or out. In NSW, 240,000 birds were culled at one farm, while another saw 87,000 birds culled.

In Victoria, the outbreak has led to the culling of approximately one million birds, according to the ABC.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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