Chickens in cages at a farm in the United States.
Avian influenza outbreak has not led to government-mandated food rationing. Image by AP PHOTO

Bird flu outbreak sparks baseless food rations claim

Tom Wark June 27, 2024

Australia has mandated food rations to prepare for a bird flu pandemic.


False. There are no government-mandated restrictions on poultry products.

AAP FACTCHECK – Australians are being subjected to government-mandated food rationing ahead of a bird flu pandemic, according to an article being shared on social media.

This is false. While two supermarkets have introduced some egg purchase limits amid bird flu outbreaks affecting poultry farms, there’s no government-mandated rationing program.

The false claim comes from an article on The People’s Voice, a website which has been checked multiple times by AAP FactCheck.

Several Facebook posts link to the article. 

A Facebook post spreading the false claim
 Eggs and poultry meat are still available to buy in Australia. 

“Australia Mandates ‘Food Rations’ To Prepare for Bird Flu Pandemic,” the article’s headline claims.

“Food bans and food rationing has begun in Australia as the puppet government continues rolling out World Economic Forum policies to please their globalist overlords,” it continues.

“Citing the so-called avian influenza as the excuse, the Australian state of Victoria has … banned consumers from purchasing healthy, everyday products including eggs.”

The article provides no links to government notices.

There are no government-mandated food bans or rationing programs in place.

A federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry spokesperson told AAP FactCheck that “governments have not mandated restrictions on consumer purchases due to avian influenza”.

On its website, the Victorian government makes clear there are no state-imposed restrictions.

It states there is no food safety risk from consuming products, adding “Victoria has a secure supply chain, including the importation of eggs from interstate”.

Since May, at least eight farms in Victoria and two in NSW have detected cases of avian influenza in poultry, while one in ACT is investigating a suspected case.

Bird flu can cause severe symptoms and death in affected birds. The strains detected in Australian poultry are different to the H5N1 strain which is causing concern overseas.

A sign at a quarantine zone in Victoria following bird flu outbreak.
 At least 10 Australian farms have detected strains of avian influenza in poultry.  

Both states’ biosecurity responses have involved euthanising infected and in-contact animals to prevent further virus spread.

Following this, Coles implemented a two-carton, 24-egg limit per customer in all states except Western Australia. News reports say Costco has introduced a 30-egg limit in its NSW stores.

Dr Joanne Sillince, acting chief executive of the Australian Chicken Growers Council,  told AAP FactCheck these limits did not constitute an egg shortage, let alone mandated rationing.

“Coles imposed its egg buying limits because it has a supplier shortage from one of its suppliers, but there is no egg shortage in Victoria or Australia,” Dr Sillince said.

State and federal governments have also confirmed there’s no current threat to food supply or food safety.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand states that “avian influenza (bird flu) is not a food safety concern”.

It adds: “It is safe to eat properly handled and cooked chicken meat, eggs and egg products.”

The Verdict

The claim that Australia has implemented government-mandated food rationing due to bird flu is false.

Though two supermarket chains have introduced some form of egg purchase limit, governments have not imposed any restrictions.

Food safety authorities confirm there’s no risk to humans from eating properly cooked eggs or poultry.

False – The claim is inaccurate. 

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