Avian Flu Blamed For Egg Shortages, Price Increases

Despite the Biden administration’s efforts to paint a rosy economic picture ahead of November’s elections, working Americans are confronted with the impact of rampant inflation with every visit to the supermarket.

The latest consumer price index revealed that costs ticked up more than expected last month, and certain items are causing more financial strain than others — that is, if they are available at all.

Recent trends show that egg production is down significantly, pushing prices increasingly higher for consumers who are actually able to find them in their local grocery store. The California Poultry Federation pointed to the continuing impact of avian influenza as the primary culprit.

Farmers, officials and shoppers across California have already started to notice the price increases and scarcity associated with eggs, and the trend is expected to spread across the nation for the foreseeable future.

“There’s not an egg on the shelf, just an empty area,” said Barbara Barrish after visiting her local supermarket.

A number of grocery chains have already begun rationing their inventory, including Safeway, which has limited purchases to two dozen eggs per visit in some locations.

Tara Fortier, who shops at one of the chain’s stores in Alameda, said: “It’s sad when anything like that starts to happen. And then, of course, it really brings it home for all of us that there is an impact. It is a supply chain and a food chain.”

Even when farmers are able to get the bird flu under control, the shortages will continue for weeks, explained California Poultry Federation President Bill Mattos.

“What happens is they’re euthanized humanely, or they die, one or the other,” he said. “And then we’ve got to clean up the ranches. And they’re not allowed to put more birds on there for a month or two.”

Poultry farmer Ken Mitchell expressed his frustration over the current situation.
“The biggest thing is the down time,” he explained. “You could be out four to six months. If you don’t have birds, you aren’t making money.”

Bird flu was one of several factors — the other major one being inflation — that sent egg prices soaring throughout much of 2022 and 2023. The average cost of a dozen reached nearly $5 in January 2023, well over twice the average price just one year earlier.