Egg prices spike amid worst US avian flu outbreak in 7 years

The highly contagious strain has impacted poultry in over 20 states.

April 4, 2022, 8:30 AM

As consumers continue to feel the crunch at the grocery store checkout, eggs are the latest product predicted to surge in price.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), 21 states have confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza, commonly referred to as bird flu, causing disease in both commercial and backyard poultry.

A woman holds eggs in an undated stock photo.
STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images

While no humans have tested positive for the disease, it has led to the death of more than 17 million birds, the USDA said.

Prices are expected to climb amid the seasonal demand during Easter and Passover with the outbreak expected to make prices even more expensive.

Companies including Hormel Foods, the parent company of Jennie-O Turkey Store, addressed the potential impact on the poultry supply chain.

"Jennie-O Turkey Store has been preparing for this situation and took extensive precautions to protect the health of the turkeys in its supply chain," the company said. "Jennie-O Turkey Store will continue to work with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Minnesota Board of Animal Health, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, as well as poultry industry associations on this issue. USDA and the National Turkey Federation are monitoring and responding to the situation and remind consumers that HPAI does not pose a food safety concern."

According to the World Health Organization and the CDC, properly cooked poultry is perfectly safe to eat. Additionally, the CDC said there's no evidence to suggest that the virus can be transmitted to humans from poultry that is cooked properly.

Eggs are seen in box container on a wooden table in this stock photo.

Supermarkets around the country have alerted shoppers that prices are likely to continue going up. Eggs now average $2.88 per dozen, up 52% since the first confirmed case of avian influenza in February, the highest since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

ABC News chief business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis reported that grocers have bought more stock to prepare for the upcoming spring holidays, but that industry analysts aren't concerned about shortages.

Jarvis also recommended looking into apps that can save on grocery bills such as Ibotta and Checkout 51 that give customers cashback on groceries. The app Basket compares food prices to find the least expensive option in the area.