CA egg prices skyrocket

eggsFor partly predictable reasons, egg prices in California have skyrocketed.

An unexpected wave of disease has exacerbated increases brought on by Golden State policymakers. “While the avian flu outbreak this spring that resulted in the killing of 48 million domestic chickens and turkeys, mostly in the Midwest, continues to have a ripple effect across the country, a perfect storm of additional factors in California, namely the rollout of Proposition 2 and higher chicken feed prices, are wreaking havoc on Bay Area supermarket egg prices and limiting the supply of eggs to local restaurants, ice cream shops and bakeries,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Citing data from the Department of Agriculture, KGO San Francisco noted that prices for a carton of large eggs jumped from $1.45 last August to $3.61 this month. Meanwhile, since last May, California has produced nearly 20 percent fewer eggs, according to USDA figures.

Costly chickens, costly eggs

According to the egg industry, that dip in production numbers should be attributed primarily to the passage of Prop. 2. Passed into law by voters as the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, the Chronicle recalled, Prop. 2 “requires that all eggs sold in California come from farms that allow chickens to move around freely. Because each egg-laying hen must have 116 square inches of space, rather than the standard 67 inches of space in battery cages, there are fewer hens overall, and farms had to be upgraded.”

Those upgrades imposed costs passed along to consumers, industry advocates observed. “The costs of having to build new structures and new facilities were incurred by the egg farmers, and those costs have to get passed along,” said John Segale, spokesman for the Association of California Egg Farmers, in comments to the Associated Press. What’s more, the limitations imposed by Prop. 2 worsened the impact of the avian flu outbreak. Ken Klippen, president of the National Association of Egg Farmers, told AP that some of the big Iowa farms that meet Prop. 2 requirements have been knocked out completely by the disease.

More costly feed, meanwhile, has pushed egg prices higher. Klippen added that “California producers have to pay 20 cents more per dozen eggs for chicken feed because it’s mostly shipped from the Midwest.”

After hitting record prices earlier this summer, as Reason noted, consumers faced even greater sticker shock this fall.

Struggling to respond

As is often the case, the changing market has disproportionately affected small businesses; bakery owner Terri Littleton told Fox Sacramento she “survived the initial jump in prices when California’s law giving more cage space to egg laying chickens went into effect. But the avian flu epidemic and higher feed prices in drought-ridden California have made eggs even more expensive.”

Proprietors have been forced to make unattractive choices about how to compensate for the changes. Littleton stressed that “raising prices is a tough proposition for businesses that work on a small budget, and changing recipes might even be more harmful.” The experience of some larger chains appeared to underscore that point. One CNN report revealed that consumers have lashed out at Panda Express restaurants for pulling eggs from their fried rice and hot and sour soup recipes.”

In an ironic twist, not all egg merchants have found themselves in a painful bind. Anecdotal evidence suggested that specialty sellers could benefit from relatively more expensive egg prices. “We have seen people that we have not seen before at the farmers’ market, and they are saying if we’re going to pay that amount at the grocery store, we’d rather buy a fresher egg and a higher-quality egg,” one pasture-raised chicken rancher told the Chronicle. Eggs produced by so-called free range chickens now typically retail for  about $9 a dozen.

13 comments

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  1. Art
    Art 28 August, 2015, 08:12

    Voters got mislead with ads of poor hens in small cages. Now they are paying higher prices for eggs. Some of that fault is Avian flu but voters should be more informed.

    Reply this comment
  2. Egghead
    Egghead 28 August, 2015, 09:02

    Hey! We may not have water but we have parts of a bullet train! Who says the low info voters are a problem?

    Reply this comment
  3. BobP
    BobP 28 August, 2015, 10:12

    Costco Burbank was $6 for 1 1/2 doz week ago.
    We live in a progressive blue state.
    Deal with it.

    Reply this comment
    • ricky65
      ricky65 28 August, 2015, 14:10

      I believe you misspoke. You said ‘progressive’.
      Surely you meant to say ‘regressive’.

      Reply this comment
  4. Just Another Disgruntled Citizen
    Just Another Disgruntled Citizen 28 August, 2015, 10:23

    So, the point seems to be it doesn’t matter how the hens are treated, as long as the price of eggs always stays low, and any other considerations are of no value.

    I would prefer that humane treatment of hens came about as a voluntary choice in the industry, but it didn’t happen that way. Nevertheless, the fact that it did is not a bad thing. And that is because, as I believe, there is no moral excuse for mistreating animals we raise for food, just as there is no excuse for destroying the land we live on to support a high standard of living.

    The effects of Avian Flu on the poultry and egg industries are only temporary. It has benefitted the specialty producers who were ahead the pack with humanely-treated egg-laying hens. This means the quality of the eggs we buy at the store will be better-tasting, more-nourishing, and less adulterated with undesirable additives. How is this not better?

    John Adams said Liberty is a power to do as we would be done by, which means that if we don’t apply the Golden Rule to everything we do then what we’ll get isn’t Liberty.

    Reply this comment
    • Bunny
      Bunny 28 August, 2015, 10:38

      I don’t think people who can barely afford to feed their families at all really care about whether or not the chickens receive spa treatments before laying eggs. The over-hyped drama of supposedly mistreated chickens has gotten out of hand. Ranchers are raising food, not pets; it behooves them to raise healthy, affordable food, not mistreat their animals.

      Reply this comment
      • Queeg
        Queeg 28 August, 2015, 11:36

        Comrade Bunnie,

        Plutocrats and slaver high tech trinket importers look at residents as helpless sheep to be clipped just enough to slowly limit growth and slow motion clean them out financially.

        Futile this spiriling down dependence cyle….how much can the Visigoths take?

        Reply this comment
  5. Norman
    Norman 28 August, 2015, 19:09

    My jumbo eggs at Trader Joe’s are and have been $2.40 per doz for a few years. So, where’s the increase?

    Reply this comment
  6. eck
    eck 28 August, 2015, 19:12

    Ditto to most above. Eggs are way up for those poor families who could really use this great source of nutrition. A pox upon those elite P’s.O.S. who voted for this cage thing – as though the chickens were sentient beings – they’ve never suffered. Just another horrid example of the elite coastal-dwelling progressives (they’re anything but), sticking it to the rest of us. My friend is like this, “chickens are as important (or more) as people”. Wretch!

    Reply this comment
    • Queeg
      Queeg 30 August, 2015, 09:04

      Comrade Eck,

      Human misery. 1/3 of the residents in virtual poverty. Redistribution to globalists, high tech trinket makers, corporate food barons, plutocrats. Little to the poor, infirmed, helpless.

      Reply this comment
    • ricky65
      ricky65 31 August, 2015, 08:16

      Exactly.
      The way our governor of record, Jerry Clown, the head legisturd, the Preening Prince Ponce DeLeon and the real de facto Governor, Tom Steyer have declared war on the middle and lower classes and suburban and rural populations with their AB 350, AB 32, uber taxation, carbon trading and crony green scams, its possible chickens will soon have bigger apartments & condos than we ordinary Californians.

      Reply this comment
    • JW
      JW 1 September, 2015, 09:47

      Sentient: “feeling,” and it describes things that are alive, able to feel and perceive, and show awareness or responsiveness.

      What makes you think that chickens are not sentient. How can you possibly state that “they’ve never suffered.” Educate yourself before you make asinine comments like this . https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=chicken+documentary&FORM=VIRE2#view=detail&mid=73B358C19AC6118E243573B358C19AC6118E2435

      Reply this comment
  7. desmond
    desmond 30 August, 2015, 19:14

    It is time for football. I bet most so called poor Citizens make sure they park their oversized rears on the couch on Sundays and watch the criminals or pea brains play. Trump should offer free NFL ticket to all, to get those morons to vote for him. Heck, he could outObama the current Lenin scholar in the WhiteHouse. Text your moron friend on your O phone, while both of you are clued to the Idiot HD.

    Reply this comment

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