Egg Prices In California Rise 550% And The State Is Blaming It On Bird Flu

By Gina Florio
·  3 min read
egg shortage

The state of the American economy isn't looking so good, but things in California seem particularly worse. The state is facing an egg shortage and the price of eggs has risen 550%. The culprit? Bird flu, apparently.

Prices for groceries have skyrocketed over the last year and many people are struggling to put food on the table. Even rapper Cardi B has noticed that groceries are way more expensive than usual. She made a video on Twitter pointing out that lettuce now costs $7 when it used to cost $2. But it seems as though things in California are even worse than what the rest of the country has been experiencing. The cost of eggs has risen 550%.

Egg Prices in California Rise 550% and the State Is Blaming It on Bird Flu

Twitter user @WSBChairman shared a chart showing how much more expensive eggs have become since July 2021. Back then, they cost roughly $1.34 and now they cost $7.37. "Omelets are now only for the rich," he tweeted.

The prices reflect an egg shortage in the state, which is supposedly linked to an outbreak of bird flu. Roughly half of the eggs sold in California come from Iowa and Ohio, and according to Bill Mattos, president of the California Poultry Federation, these states were hit particularly hard with the bird flu. This has resulted in many birds dying or getting sick, meaning they have to replace the population, which takes time.

More than 57.8 million birds around the U.S. have died since early 2022 from bird flu, according to the CDC, and most of these are hens that lay eggs. 4 million of these hens died in December 2022 alone. Apparently, all it takes is for one bird to fly into a coop and it causes a big enough problem for potentially all the chickens to get sick and thus stop the production of eggs. Californians haven't been hit with bird flu, but they're "very nervous right now" that it will come to their doorstep soon, according to Mattos.

Another factor that is contributing to the eggs shortage is California's strict commitment to eggs that are cage-free—and only 30% of the egg market is cage-free. This has only made it harder to ship in enough eggs for the whole state, which in turn drives up the prices of eggs exponentially.

This has resulted in people going to multiple grocery stores in their city in an attempt to find eggs to purchase. Various store owners have told the press that they haven't had eggs on their shelves in a while, and if they do get them in, they have to ration them out to customers. Of course increasing inflation isn't helping either, which is only driving up the prices even higher and making it nearly impossible for everyday Americans to put food on their table comfortably. It's also making it incredibly difficult for many small businesses to stay open. Sadly, Tracy Ann Devore, owner of KnowRealityPie in Eagle Rock, had to let go of an employee recently to manage costs, but it may not stop there.

“Small businesses especially, you live and die by what your food costs are,” Devore told the LA Times. “If this keeps up for another three to six months, it could be a tipping point for some bakeries to close.”

Meanwhile, the Biden administration claims that our economy is doing better than ever, making it feel even worse for the people who are barely making it by.