US egg shortage could cost consumers $8bn as prices soar, companies import from Europe

 
Catherine Neilan
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It's no yolk: the price of eggs has more than doubled in a year, and it's going to get even higher (Source: Getty)
The outbreak of bird flu in the US is leading to an unprecedented situation for companies reliant on eggs – they are starting to import eggs from Europe for the first time.
Nearly a quarter of hens that lay eggs used by food manufacturers have either died or will be culled as a result of the latest wave of the disease in the Midwest – 39 million birds so far.
Food-makers are unable to import them from countries closer to home because Canada has been importing from the US because of its own egg shortage prior to the outbreak of H5N1 in the Midwest.
Mexico, which has been suffering its own series of outbreaks, is banned from exporting eggs to the US.
As a result, European agri-food giants are experiencing an increase in demand from US companies for the first time, Reuters reports.
Avril, which owns France's largest egg brand, Matines, is planning to start shipping eggs over in June.
Vaccine producers such as GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co and Sanofi Pasteur, meanwhile, are having to increase security around their birds to ensure the hen flocks are not infected with the virus.
Those who are sticking with domestic suppliers are being forced to stomach sharply higher prices. The wholesale price has more than doubled in a year.
This is expected to be passed onto the consumers. Goldman Sachs analyst predict consumers will spend a further $7.5bn-$8bn (£4.8bn-£5.2bn) because of the egg shortage.
No doubt there will be plenty of egg-spletives when shoppers get to the tills...

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