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article imageAvian flu causes Egg prices to rise higher than a chicken can fly

By Karen Graham     Jun 8, 2015 in Food
Soaring egg prices are now being seen across the country as H5N2 avian influenza has devastated poultry producers in 16 Midwestern states and Canada. As of June 5, there have been 217 confirmed locations, affecting 46,741,393 birds.
Texas Supermarket chain H-E-B has started rationing its eggs, saying it's committed to ensuring "families and households have access to eggs," says the Guardian, and that is why customers cannot buy more than three-dozen eggs at a time.
The announcement by H-E-B follows an announcement by Whataburger last Monday, a Corpus Christie, Texas-based fast food firm that is reducing the hours a customer can order a breakfast containing eggs. The fast food company suggests diners try menu items without eggs because "we sure don't want you leaving hungry."
Notices have gone up in 14 H-E-B stores across North Texas, according to Cray24. "The avian flu this year has impacted a significant portion of the egg laying population in the United States (over 30 million birds)," company officials said in a statement. "This temporary constriction in the US market has caused an increase in price and shortage in availability of eggs. The signs placed on our shelves last week are to deter commercial users from buying eggs in bulk.”
Egg and meat prices are soaring due to avian flu's impact
Of the 16 states hit with the Avian flu, Iowa, which supplies one-fifth of the nation's eggs, has been hit the hardest, with 40 percent of its egg-laying chickens gone. It is not just the price of a dozen eggs to the consumer, but the availability of liquid eggs to commercial establishments, like fast food outlets, restaurants, health facilities and manufacturers of products containing eggs, that is causing problems in the supply chain.
While chicken parts may not be in short supply at this time, turkey meat is another matter. With the number of turkey growers affected by the outbreak, consumers could end up paying more at the supermarket for turkey this year. It is important to remember though, that consumers will have to bargain over less quantity, and the shape of the demand curve (the red line) ultimately determines how high turkey prices rise.
Let us know what you, the consumer, are paying for a dozen eggs in your neighborhood today.
More about egg prices, Avian flu, Rationing, Supermarkets, h5n2 virus
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