A deadly and highly contagious strain of bird flu has forced American farmers to kill millions of chickens, reducing egg supplies and making the breakfast staple more expensive.
Retailers in the Midwest recently bought a dozen Grade A large white eggs from farmers for between $2.80 and $2.89, according to data released by the US Department of Agriculture.
That is more than twice as much as in March. Back then, retailers paid farmers around $1.25 per dozen Grade A white eggs Industry analyst Brian Earnest of Cobank.
When demand is particularly high around Easter time, the prices retailers pay farmers – and consumers in the grocery store – can rise even higher. This year these prices are expected to rise even more due to flocks being culled due to bird flu.
In recent weeks, farmers have culled 11 million laying hens due to a serious outbreak of bird flu. Earnest predicted millions more chickens would be killed to end the epidemic.
The bird flu outbreak, the worst since 2015; the ongoing difficulties in the supply chain; and the higher cost of feeding laying hens created a perfect storm that hit Americans in the wallet.
While humans may have to pay more for eggs, there is no need to worry about contracting the pathogen, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The federal agency said avian influenza is “primarily an animal health concern” and that “the risk to public health from current H5N1 avian influenza viruses is low.”
Federal guidelines require farmers to discard flocks infected with bird flu.
A spokesman for the Iowa Department of Agriculture said CNN that “we currently have more than a dozen sites affected by the disease”.
As a result, farmers in Hawkeye State have been forced to kill 11.2 million laying hens — nearly one-fifth of about 56 million laying hens in Iowa as a whole.
Experts say the outbreak is being caused by birds migrating into the country. The migration season lasts from March to around May.
World food prices have skyrocketed in recent weeks thanks to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The United Nations said on Friday that its food price index rose nearly 13% from February to March as wheat, barley, corn, oats and sunflower oil are in short supply due to Ukraine’s six-week war.
In the US, the rising costs of gas, food and housing have led to record inflation.
Earlier this month, the Labor Department said prices rose 7.9% over the past year – the sharpest rise in four decades.
Even before the war, further accelerating price increases, robust consumer spending, robust wage increases, and persistent supply constraints had pushed US inflation to its highest level since the early 1980s.
In addition, housing costs, which account for about a third of the government’s consumer price index, have risen sharply, a trend that is unlikely to reverse anytime soon.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/08/the-price-of-eggs-is-surging-due-to-a-strand-of-avian-flu/ Egg price soars on a bird flu strain