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Egg Prices Drop, Avian Flu Still Rages

Specialty Food Association

Egg prices have begun to decline, however, the threat of the avian flu continues in the U.S., reports NPR. USDA data found that wholesale prices of a dozen eggs in the Midwest dropped by 58 cents to $3.29 per dozen in January.

"We're seeing wholesale prices start to come down," said David Ortega, a food economist at Michigan State University. There is often a lag between wholesale and retail price changes, but the relief is expected to hit shelves soon.

Despite a more manageable price tag, it is unlikely that egg prices will return to pre-bird flu prices soon. Inflation has increased the cost of feed, transportation, and labor, and the population of birds affected by the outbreak has exceeded 58 million, with many of them being egg-laying hens.

“There's a lot of uncertainty about how much longer this outbreak will continue." Especially at an unpredictable time, Ortega says prices “tend to rise quickly, but take much longer to come down."

The current strain of bird flu is considered to be more deadly and infectious than the last outbreak in 2015.

When asked when the outbreak will end, Dr. Yuko Sato, a veterinarian at Iowa State University said “We don’t know… We hope we’re somewhere in the middle or hoping towards the end.” The Wall Street Journal recently reported that those working on the problem have indicated that there is no way to stop the flu’s spread and that it must run its course.

Emily Metz, president of the American Egg Board, told NPR that farmers are doing everything in their power to fend off the flu, by protecting their flocks from migratory birds, and lowering contamination risk wherever possible. Full Story

Related: Worst Avian Flu Outbreak Ravages U.S.; People Buy Chicks to Combat Inflation