In December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that the deadly avian flu had decimated nearly 53 million birds in America alone. As a result, the recent consumer price index (CPI) indicated that the prices have surged 70 percent in a year. Adding to the crisis is the high production cost that has pushed the price of a carton of 12 eggs to a record $4.82 in January, up from less than two dollars a year earlier. (Related: Government says "bird flu" responsible for rising egg prices.)
Although wholesale eggs price is dropping on a weekly basis, this hasn't reached grocery stores yet. On the other hand, ground beef prices have fallen from record levels of $4.64 from a peak of $5.12 last August, resulting in a dozen eggs costing more than a pound of ground chuck.
The nation's chicken producers are also trying to bring down egg prices by selling 400 million surplus eggs to food producers. But first they have to convince the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to change the rule that prevents eggs laid by chickens in the meat industry to be used for human consumption.
As reported by Los Angeles Daily News, the National Chicken Council trade group submitted a formal petition to the FDA asking officials to drop a rule passed in 2009 that keeps chicken producers from selling their excess eggs because they aren't refrigerated right away.
The FDA said it would review the council's petition and respond directly to the group. But concerns about food safety are what drove them to adopt the rule that prohibited the sale of eggs in the first place.
"When a broiler hatchery produces eggs, they are kept at 65 degrees until they are ready to be placed in incubators to be hatched. The FDA said in its ruling that eggs that are going to be used for food need to be stored at temperatures below 45 degrees within 36 hours," the news outlet said.
The council believes the eggs would be safe because they would be pasteurized before they were used by food producers.
Avian influenza has already killed 15 million domestic birds and led to the culling of an unprecedented 193 million more since October 2021. The said virus has traveled from Europe and Asia to North America, spreading shortly afterward to bird populations in South and Central America.
Lately, the infection is no longer restricted to birds as the list of wild mammals either killed by or culled over avian influenza outbreaks is growing in America. The virus has killed grizzly bears in Nebraska and Montana, a red fox in Montana, six skunks and raccoons in Oregon, a Kodiak bear in Alaska and more.
Just last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported avian influenza in a young girl in Ecuador. After this first human case in Latin America, sequencing revealed a mutation that enabled the first-ever large-scale case of direct mammal-to-mammal transmission of bird flu.
According to the WHO, there were only five human bird flu cases last year, but past human cases of H5N1 avian influenza have had a 53 percent mortality.
AlJazeera's Ian Graber-Stiehl said the risk of consistent bird flu transmissions to and between humans is low. "But the fast-proliferating avian influenza infection is becoming a contender virus that could drive the next pandemic, one with a mortality rate that, if it spreads among humans, could make COVID-19 seem mild in comparison," the writer said.
Visit FoodInflation.news for more stories about rising egg prices.
Watch the video below that talks about avian influenza killing poultry all over the world.
This video is from the Puretrauma357 channel on Brighteon.com.