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Bird Flu Outbreak Causes Egg Shortages

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The bird flu outbreak in the U.S. is bad news for consumers. It’s driving the cost of eggs and poultry up. In some grocery stores, there are even signs apologizing for the shortages. The biggest shortages are being seen in the processed eggs, such as those used on breakfast sandwiches and containers of liquified eggs. There’s no timeframe in place for the shortages to end, either. It all depends on when the bird flu situation is resolved.

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Grocery store customers aren’t the only ones seeing higher costs. Bakers and restaurants that rely a lot on eggs are paying a premium. That means consumers may start to see higher prices on baked goods. Consumers also need to be conscious of the fact that the bird flu can morph and be contracted by humans. That would be a serious threat to all consumers if it were to happen. It was a serious problem a couple of years ago with the H1N2 strain.

Maro Ibarburu from Iowa State University’s Egg Industry Center said, “The bird flu has caused perhaps the largest short-term change the U.S. egg market has ever experienced.” He goes on to say that the shortage could have long-term effects. For instance, it is going to take a couple of years to rebuild the population of egg-laying hens. More than 36 million hens have died because of the H5N2 bird flu. That’s 12 percent of the total egg-laying capacity in the U.S.

Minnesota has gotten the most attention for the bird flu outbreak. They have a major turkey industry that has suffered badly. 10 percent of the annual turkey production was affected. That’s led to a significant increase in the price of turkeys. Thanksgiving is a long ways out, but the price hikes are expected to continue that long or longer.

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