If you’ve wandered into a grocery store only to find yourself appalled by the current, shocking $7.00 price tag for a dozen eggs, you aren’t the only Californian scrambling for answers.
This skyrocketing price is brought to the Golden State courtesy of an ongoing outbreak of bird flu, one that has resulted in the deaths of millions of hens and left grocers panicking across the region, the Los Angeles Times reports.
People are shuffling between grocery stores only to find shelves almost completely empty, or with crazily expensive eggs the only ones available.
“I was shocked when there were zero eggs at Trader Joe’s,” Callie, who frequents the chain’s location on Hyperion Ave, told us. “Turns out there’s an egg shortage, even with all the goddamn chickens in the world.”
Kierra, who also shops at Trader Joe’s, says that she “has no idea what the price [of eggs] is any more” because “they are always sold out” when she goes.
Within the last week, the average price of a dozen eggs jumped from $4.38 to $7.37. A year ago, 12 unfertilized chicken embryos went for just $2.35, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
It’s not just shoppers at the big chains feeling the pain. Vendors at farmers markets, who already charged a pretty penny for their homegrown eggs, have been asking a king’s ransom since all those hens went hocks-up.
“I was at the Atwater village farmers market on Sunday, where I go most days,” one consumer tells us. “The main egg vendor was sold out at 11:15, which almost never happens. Next to him was a general vendor and they had a dozen organic eggs for $11.”
However, he was able to score some of the breakfast staples at a decent price at the Target on Eagle Rock Boulevard, where he found a dozen organic brown eggs for $5.29, noting, “Some deals do exist, I guess.”
Although there are those who would conflate the outbreak with cage-free chicken rules that went into effect with Proposition 12, the government says that’s not the case.
“The current outbreak has impacted all types of farms, regardless of size or production style,” a USDA spokeswoman told the Times.
California Poultry Federation President Bill Mattos also insisted that cage-free birds were not the problem, noting that the egg industry in the state “has avoided any bird flu in commercial flocks,” adding, “Their biosecurity is outstanding and companies here are working very hard to keep wild birds out of facilities and farms across the state.”
Others argue that the flu alone is not the issue, and that Prop 12 created a chicken shortage that exasperated the crisis, and that the state brought it on itself.
“They had to kill 50 million chickens, and [many of those] lay cage-free,” Rami Rosenthal, head of L.A. egg wholesaler Toby Egg Farms told the Times. “The other reason is California voted to have [only] cage-free eggs, but California doesn’t have enough.”
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