Until now, the H5N2 virus has killed about 47 million birds. 35 million of them were egg-laying hens.
This is the main reason why the U.S. will probably start importing eggs from elsewhere – most likely from the Netherlands quite soon. This is considered to be a drastic measure, because they haven’t done so in more than 10 years.
Other countries that have been approved for egg import are Chile, Argentina, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal.
However, it might be the ultimate solution if they want to cover the massive losses caused by the avian influenza, which on June 8 reached the 21st state affected, Michigan. It will probably be long before the farms in the U.S. start producing 30 million eggs a month again. In the past, this was enough both to cover the consumers’ needs and for export.
Some major stores have already tripled the price per dozen eggs due to the shortage, which affects both customers and companies alike. Thus, manufacturers that produce cakes, pasta, bread and other products containing eggs will most likely increase the price for them as well.
Obviously, the high prices will limit the demand. Aaron Irlbeck, who is the vice president of purchasing at Fareway stated that these stores haven’t had problems with supply because the cost of eggs is “keeping demand down”.
Restaurants have also been influenced by the scarcity of eggs. McDonalds is already looking for alternatives and some restaurants, such as Whataburger have limited the breakfast serving hours.
We never thought we’d see the day when eggs are placed on the luxury list but here it is. Moreover, poultry meat is also threatening to become more expensive, given the fact that millions of birds died during the influenza outbreak.
Even if some farms were not affected by the virus, it was estimated that almost 15 percent of the birds raised in farms all over the nation have perished.
Therefore, it is very unlikely for this situation to be mended anytime soon, so it will take a while before eggs become the cheap product we were used to.
Image Source: telegraph