TheIt cuts down on household budgets in the US. According to the US Department of Agriculture, in recent years Americans have increased the number of eggs they consume while reducing their intake of beef and venison.
Los Angeles Times reporter Sonja Sharp told CBS News that egg consumption has increased in part because more families are eating them as a staple protein substitute. “Each of us eats as many eggs as one hen can lay in a year,” he said.
U.S. production has declined as egg demand continues to rise. According to the USDA, as of January 6, an estimated 58 million birds were infected with bird flu, making it the deadliest outbreak in US history. Infected birds must be culled, which reduces egg supply and increases prices.
Families and restaurants are now paying higher prices for eggs as the disease affects 47 states.
In California, for example, data showed the average price of a few eggs reached $7.37 last week, up from $2.35 a year ago. The USDA reported last week that the national average egg price for many wholesalers is now $3.30. According to the latest data obtained by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the average price of a dozen eggs in the US city rose to a record level – $ 3.58 in November.
Prices won’t drop again until new chickens are born infection-free and reach egg-laying age, Sharp said. According to the USDA, more than 300 poultry flocks were affected by the outbreak last Friday.
Jose Filipe, a New York grocery store owner, said rising egg prices have caused many customers to change their spending habits.
“I’ve seen customers go to conventional eggs, especially half a dozen now, rather than buying organic eggs. Prices have quadrupled in about six to seven months,” he said..
What is bird flu?
Avian influenza is transmitted by free-flying waterfowl such as ducks, geese and shorebirds and infects chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese and guinea fowl. In another major recent outbreak of the disease, it killed more than 50 million chickens and turkeys in 2014 and 2015, and caused $3.3 billion in economic losses, according to USDA estimates. The agency is currently investigating a potential avian flu vaccine.
Fortunately, the public health risk associated with bird flu remains low, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Still, cooking all poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F is recommended as a general food safety rule.
The price of processed eggs, used in liquid or powder form in manufactured products including salad dressings, cake mixes and chips, also rose, adding to inflationary pressures.
The Consumer Price Index – a closely watched inflation indicator –from the previous year. Falling prices for energy, commodities, and used cars offset increases in food and shelter.
Even with the cost increase, eggs remain relatively cheap compared to the price of other proteins such as chicken or beef, with a pound of chicken breast selling for an average of $4.42 and a pound of ground beef for $4.85 in November, according to the government. data.
But if egg prices rise, Chicago resident Kelly Fischer said she’ll start thinking more seriously about building a backyard chicken coop because everyone in her family eats eggs.
“We (neighbors) are thinking of building a chicken coop behind our house, so hopefully we won’t have to buy them and I’ll have my own eggs, and I think it’s a bit more expensive,” said the 46-year-old public school teacher. while shopping at HarvestsTime Foods on the city’s North Side. “For me, it’s more about environmental impact and trying to buy locally.”
– The Associated Press contributed to this report