WASHINGTON (7News) — A rapidly escalating bird-flu outbreak in the U.S. is contributing to a surge in egg prices and threatens to raise prices on other poultry products in the coming months as deaths continue to mount, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The price increase comes just ahead of a yearly surge in egg sales over the Easter holiday.
In the biggest increase since 1981, higher egg prices are part of the current inflated economy that has caused food prices to increase by 7.9% from February 2021 to February 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Egg availability heading into Easter is sure to be hampered,' Brian Earnest, an animal protein economist at CoBank, told the Wall Street Journal.
Shell egg prices are currently sitting at $2.88 a dozen on average - the highest since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing market research firm Urner Barry.
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Prices for a dozen eggs have spiked a staggering 52 percent since February 8, when the USDA confirmed the first case of the highly pathogenic avian influenza in a US commercial flock in Indiana.
Cases of avian influenza so far have led to the deaths of more than 17 million birds, according to Agriculture Department data.
That's roughly 3% of the total U.S. flock.
Another two million commercially raised turkeys have suffered the same fate.
In the last two months, dozens of bird-flu cases have been reported across the U.S., from Maryland to South Dakota.
The USDA on Wednesday confirmed the presence of the disease in five new states.
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The Wall Street Journal reported that the virus outbreak, the worst in seven years, is hitting Midwest egg-laying flocks and affecting companies from Tyson Foods Inc. to Hormel Foods Corp.
More than 11 million egg-laying chickens, roughly 3% of the total U.S. flock, have died or been destroyed as a result of the disease, along with more than two million commercially raised turkeys.
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