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Poultry Disease Blamed for Layoffs

A deadly poultry disease is being blamed for layoffs at a Turlock chicken processing plant.

Valley Fresh says it will have to lay off 100 to 150 workers in May because of a shortage of chickens after an outbreak of exotic Newcastle disease. The 34-year-old company will also close its de-boning and cooking divisions. The outbreak of the disease and a quarantine of Southern California poultry have halted the flow of birds to the plant.

Valley Fresh processes some 8 million to 10 million chickens a year.