As the prices at supermarkets are already rising due to inflation, the cost of eggs is also expected to go up considerably more due to a serious outbreak of bird flu, with Easter just around the corner.
The Animal and Plant Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture announced on Monday that at least 21 states have verified instances of highly contagious influenza. This viral disease is affecting domestic and commercial poultry both.
Around 17 million hens and turkeys have perished as a result of the virus, according to the USDA. 2 million turkeys raised for commercial purposes and over 11 million egg-producing hens have perished, which is about 3% of the total poultry of the US.
So far, there have been no reports of people becoming infected with avian flu. CDC and WHO states that people can get infected with bird flu if they get exposed to the excrement or saliva of sick birds.
According to the National Turkey Federation and USDA, bird flu is not a food safety risk as no strong evidence has been discovered yet which suggests that the virus can spread from cooked poultry.
The massive loss of egg-laying chicken has caused a huge supply crisis at such a time when the demand for eggs is expected to rise as the Easter holy day approaches.
Since February 8, when the virus among poultry was discovered, the price of eggs has risen by 52% to $2.88 per dozen, according to CNET.
During the previous 2015 outbreak of bird flu in the United States, the price of eggs rose dramatically and the poultry industry incurred a loss of nearly $1.57 billion.
Animal protein economist Brian Earnest from Cobank stated that the availability of eggs will definitely be affected as Easter approaches. While talking with the Wall Street Journal, Earnest also discussed the surging egg prices, which he linked to a decrease in the number of egg-producing hens in the current years.
Despite the high egg prices, the poultry industry observers do not anticipate a scarcity of eggs in the present or future. They also claimed that stores have enough eggs in their inventory to meet the demand in holidays and the supply shortage.