A highly-infectious avian flu is forcing farmers to kill millions of egg-laying birds across more than half the country, driving the price of eggs up to historic levels only days before Easter and Passover.
The wholesale price for white, large Midwest shell eggs is nearly three times as much as last year. The cost of a dozen surpassed $3 on March 31, which has only happened once before, according to market researchers Urner Barry.
The rising costs are driven in part by the bird flu outbreak that has been detected in at least 26 states and led to the death of millions of birds. The virus, which is rarely transmitted to humans, is hitting consumers as well as businesses that use large amount of eggs.
The rise in the price of eggs comes as food prices have increased in several areas. From February 2021 until February 2022, milk prices have gone up 11.2%, candy has gone up 7.1%, and butter has gone up 5.5%, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts groceries could increase another 4% by the end of the year, while the cost of eating out could go up as much as 6.5%, according to the USDA’s Food Prices Outlook report released last month.