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Stores Anticipating Price Hike Following Bird Flu Outbreak

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- With so many farms and turkeys affected by avian influenza, some grocery chains are wondering how shoppers will react.

Over the past few years, Machenthun's in Waconia has added more and more turkey options. Turkey has essentially become one of the more popular buys in the store.

"Your beef and pork still sell the best, but we sell a lot of turkeys," one employee said.

And so far shoppers haven't been scared off by the avian flu outbreak that's wiped out nearly four dozen Minnesota turkey farms.

"Actually, chicken and turkey sales are at an all-time high," store manager Dale Rademachersaid.

The flu does not affect turkey meat.

And it's known that as long as poultry is cooked thoroughly, consumers won't have any problems.

But they could soon see a price change.

Generally, after an outbreak is reported in any type of meat, it takes about four to six weeks for prices to go up.

"I would say at this point we could anticipate it, but we have not seen that," Rademacher said.

But Mackenthun's and other grocers are making one adjustment.

April is typically when stores place their Thanksgiving orders so distributors can start planning.

As of now, Mackenthun's is holding off.

"Believe it or not we order turkeys for Thanksgiving this time of year," Rademacher said. "But we haven't placed that order yet. We are waiting based on what the market is going to be and what pricing is going to be."

Keep in mind there have also been a few reports of the flu in chicken flocks.

This particular flu does not spread as easily among chickens as it does with turkeys.

So prices there shouldn't be affected much, at least not at this point.

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