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RCL FOODS – avian influenza announcement

RCL FOODS confirms that an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of avian influenza (AI) has recently been detected at the company’s Heuningdal breeder farm in the Western Cape, situated between Malmesbury and Darling, after also having experienced a small outbreak at our Viva breeder farm near Muldersdrift in Gauteng.

The affected sites have been depopulated, and the loss amounts to approximately 5% of the company’s total breeder stock. The cumulative direct costs associated with AI amount to approximately R26m, and the company is evaluating all opportunities to minimise the possible impact of this reduced volume.

AI has been spreading across South Africa, with over 50 reported cases since June 2017. AI is not known to affect humans, so there is no concern from a chicken consumption perspective.

Although containing the spread of the virus is proving difficult in South Africa, RCL FOODS will continue to relentlessly implement the strictest possible biosecurity measures at all sites to safeguard the health of its flocks. RCL FOODS is also working closely with government and other authorities in this regard.