An Iowa egg farm that killed millions of chickens because of a 2015 bird flu outbreak is suing companies hired by the federal government to disinfect barns.
Sunrise Farms says the chlorine dioxide gas and heat treatments used to kill the virus destroyed barn equipment, electrical wiring, production equipment and water lines. The company also says the structural integrity of its barns was diminished.
Max Barnett, the CEO of Sunrise Farms’ parent company, South Dakota-based Sonstegard Foods, said he couldn’t comment on a pending court case.
The farm is near the northwest Iowa town of Harris, about 225 miles northwest of Des Moines. It includes a feed mill, 25 layer barns, two manure barns and a processing plant. The barns housed 4 million egg-laying hens, and two other buildings had 500,000 young hens being raised to become layers.
The farm confirmed on April 19, 2015, that its birds had the deadly strain of H5N2 bird flu. Officials from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service division arrived within days and took over the cleanup and disinfection process, hiring several companies to complete euthanizing birds and disinfecting barns to prevent the spread of the virus.