Iowa egg farm sues over damage from bird flu disinfection

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A northwest 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.

The farm near the town of Harris housed more than 4 million egg-laying hens.

The farm confirmed on April 19, 2015, that its birds had the deadly strain of H5N2 bird flu. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service division hired several companies to euthanize birds and disinfect barns to prevent the spread of the virus.

Sunrise is suing the contractors who applied the gas and heat treatments. Those companies have in turn sued subcontractors.

A trial date has been set for Jan. 27, 2020, in Sioux City.