Avian flu outbreak drives egg prices up

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 12, 2015

An outbreak of bird flu in 15 states has forced local grocery stores to drastically increase their egg prices.

Winn-Dixie Store Manager Josh Williamson said the store has increased the price of a dozen eggs by 80 cents.

“We did go up this past weekend from $1.99 to $2.79,” Williamson said. “It’s a big increase.”

Egg prices started increasing in mid-May as the outbreak started spreading.

The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 infections have been reported in U.S. domestic poultry, which includes backyard and domestic flocks, captive wild birds and wild birds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No human infections with these viruses have been detected, according to the CDC.

The bird flu detections began in December 2014 and have continued to date. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that H5 bird flu virus detections are in 21 states, 15 of which have outbreaks in domestic poultry or captive birds. Six states have H5 detections in wild birds only.

According to reports, some 47 million chickens and turkeys have been killed, and U.S. companies will soon be importing eggs from Europe because of the shortage.

Pic N Sav Assistant Store Manager Will Delano said the price for a dozen eggs has increased by a $1.50 in the last couple weeks.

“I know it’s affecting chicken houses, but don’t know where,” Delano said.

Delano said eggs cost $2.75 for a dozen medium-sized eggs, and $3.05 for large-sized eggs.

As far as customer feedback, Williamson said he’s had some call in just to see if any eggs have been recalled.

“We haven’t had any issues,” he said.

Delano said he hasn’t had any customers complaining about the price of eggs, adding that they might if the price continues to rise.

Sabrina Kelley, the store manager at Cost Plus in Andalusia, said the price of eggs hasn’t increased at her store.

“As of right now, we haven’t,” she said. “We’re looking for that to happen.”

At Farmer’s IGA in Opp, the price of eggs is $2.99 for a dozen of large eggs.

A dozen of large eggs at the Piggly Wiggly in Florala is $3.50.