The price of eggs used by food manufacturers has more than tripled in recent months. That’s largely thanks to the outbreak of bird flu spreading throughout Iowa, the nation’s number one egg production state.
Today, a dozen processing eggs costs roughly $2.26. In mid-April that same dozen cost 64 cents.
So far, Avian flu has affected more than 21 million egg-laying hens in Iowa alone. USDA poultry economist Alex Melton says this has food companies worried about supply.
"When there is a scare in any sort of national market for any commodity, you often see a sharp increase in price followed by a tapering as people are are able to take more stock and get more information," says Melton.
Melton says the climb of egg prices have already started slow. Producers may be helping the process by keeping older laying hens in production, and by bringing younger hens, called pullets, into facilities not hit by the virus.
Because there are new outbreaks of avian flu almost daily, it is unclear when or if egg prices will return to pre-bird flu rates. It is also uncertain how high prices will eventually rise.