The latest bird flu has already wiped out millions of egg-laying hens…
You’ve heard of sticker shock at the car dealership, but what about in the egg case at your local supermarket? You’re probably already concerned about the rising cost of eggs, likely paying about $3 per dozen. Would you still shell out the money if that cost rose to $6 per dozen? That’s how bad it could get, analysts say, if the avian flu gets any worse. As part of the worst outbreak in 30 years, the latest bird flu has already wiped out millions of egg-laying hens leading to a shortage in eggs and a price hike at the market.
This same volatile market is increasing Midwest wholesale prices 135 percent to $2.80 per dozen…
With prices already doubling in many states including New Jersey , many experts say prices could hit $6 a carton if the flu doesn’t slow down. However, the outlook is grim as the bird flu is expected to surge again this fall as a consequence of changing migration patterns. The USDA says that this past week, prices in New York for large shell eggs clocked in at between $1.99 and $4.49 per dozen. This same volatile market is increasing Midwest wholesale prices 135 percent to $2.80 per dozen, an increase from $1.19 per dozen on April 22, according to NBC News.
Yes, the Midwest has largely been the victim of this latest avian flu, but up next? The Southeast. This is expected to happen as soon as autumn, as the birds who carry the disease begin to migrate to that area. The most at-risk birds are turkeys and egg laying hens. What that will bring for prices on turkeys come Thanksgiving, one can only speculate. Egg laying hens typically have longer lives than chicken raised for meat, putting them at greater risk of contracting disease.
The bird flu is causing all sorts of problem within the food industry. Even fried rice isn’t immune. Panda Express has decided to test out a new version of its fried rice that contains corn rather than egg to save on costs. It no longer sells its hot and sour soup after hearing from suppliers that it could be another two years until the market stabilizes again. Rita’s Italian Ice is no longer offering their frozen custard because eggs are the main ingredient and they can no longer afford to keep that many eggs in stock.
While the bird flu cases seem to be slowing down for now, they are expected to surge again when the cool weather hits. The colder temperatures are ideal breeding grounds for the bird flu and as disease-carrying birds fly south for the winter, they risk infecting even more birds with their droppings. That’s exactly how avian influenza is spread: from the droppings of migratory birds such as ducks and geese as they do their business on farms below.
All that can be done is a wait-and-see approach. Hopefully $6 a dozen does not become a reality.