Tags: bird | flu | eggs | prices | rise

Bird Flu Triggers Rise in Egg Prices but Relief Is on the Horizon

By    |   Wednesday, 17 Jun 2015 09:10 AM

Bird flu has triggered a major increase in the price of eggs nationwide as supply diminishes now that the outbreak has affected an estimated 47 million chickens and turkeys in more than a dozen states.

Chad Gregory, chief executive of United Egg Producers, admits that the outbreak “is by far the worst we’ve ever seen it,” according to USA Today.

Standard New York large shell eggs reached a peak price of $2.49 a dozen on May 29, Shayle Shagam, Department of Agriculture spokesman, told The New York Times. In January, New York large shell eggs cost $1.20 a dozen.

But Shagam expects prices to recover soon now that bird flu is coming under control with the rise of temperatures.

“We have seen a very sharp run up in wholesale egg prices, and now they’re starting to come down,” Shagam told The Times. He said that prices have already begun to fall, with a dozen New York large shell eggs costing $2.16 on June 9.

Still, the consumer price of eggs may affect some more than others.

“Egg prices may vary because each store determines the price of their eggs to be competitive in their markets,” Tara Deering-Hansen, assistant vice president for communications at a Midwest grocery store chain, told The Times.

According to the U.S.D.A., egg production is estimated to be down 4 percent from last year, which means 341 million less dozen eggs will be available for consumers, The New York Times reported. However, it is restaurants and the food industry that will be most affected, not shoppers.

Restaurants and companies that produce large quantities of egg products have typically used liquid eggs because they are, on average, 60 cents cheaper than shell eggs. With the recent price hikes, the costs of liquid and shell eggs are less varied so businesses have begun buying shell eggs instead.

"Prices have risen for eggs, but prices have risen more for egg products,” David Harley, Department of Agriculture poultry analyst, told USA Today.

H.E.B. grocery store in Texas limits customers to three dozen eggs per shopping trip in order to prevent businesses and restaurants from buying up all of the store’s shell eggs before consumers can.

“The purpose of the limit is to deter commercial users . . . we are not a commercial supplier of eggs — our eggs are for Texas Families,” Dya Campos, the chain’s spokeswoman, told The Times.

Nickel Diner, a popular Los Angeles breakfast venue, now charges $1 extra for menu items that use eggs.

"In this day in age when we are trying to keep food affordable, it’s making it tough," Kristen Trattner, the diner’s co-owner, told USA Today.

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Bird flu has triggered a major increase in the price of eggs nationwide as supply diminishes now that the outbreak has affected an estimated 47 million chickens and turkeys in more than a dozen states.
bird, flu, eggs, prices, rise
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2015-10-17
Wednesday, 17 Jun 2015 09:10 AM
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