Egg Rationing Begins as Bird Flu Sweeps Farms


As the holiday season is here, the bird flu is taking a toll on the egg supply both in the U.S. and abroad. In the United Kingdom, it has gotten to the point that grocery stores are having to ration how many eggs shoppers can buy.

Certain locations of Lidl, a grocery chain that operates in Europe and parts of the U.S., and the British supermarket chain Asda began limiting the number of eggs customers could take per shopping trip, the Welsh outlet Wales Online reported.

“We are working hard with our suppliers to resolve the industry challenges which are currently affecting all supermarkets, and to make sure as many customers as possible can buy eggs we have introduced a temporary limit of two boxes per customer,” a spokesman from Asda stated, Wales Online reported.

Sainsbury’s, likewise, warned customers that they were having egg supply issues.

“We are currently experiencing supply issues across our fresh eggs range, we are working hard to resolve these and apologise for any inconvenience caused,” a notice at one location read, according to Wales Online.

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Even the large British grocery chain Tesco said it has considered rationing eggs if the supply issue gets worse, the Guardian reported.

The British Retail Consortium said that with the avian flu causing the strain on the egg supplies, it was not clear how long the shortages could last.

“While avian flu has disrupted the supply of some egg ranges, retailers are experts at managing supply chains and are working hard to minimise impact on customers. Some stores have introduced temporary limits on the number of boxes customers can buy to ensure availability for everyone,” said Andrew Opie, the consortium’s director of food and sustainability, the Guardian reported.

But in Wales, a spokesman from the Farmers Union of Wales said there was simply a lack of planning for this kind of incident, according to Wales Online.

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“In light of the perceived egg shortages by UK supermarkets, it is evident that there has been a lack of forward planning and realisation of the impacts inflation rates, the war in Ukraine and the ongoing energy crisis would have on food availability,” the spokesman said. “The FUW has raised concerns and lobbied for urgent action to uphold UK food security countless times with UK Governments.”

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the U.S. is running into problems as well with the avian flu.

For now, the strain is primarily manifesting in higher egg prices, CNBC News reported.

“The demand for eggs usually goes up this time of year, and we just haven’t had enough supply to meet that demand,” said Sheila Purdum, professor of poultry science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska Public Media reported.

“It’s not a panic type of shortage. It’s just the fact that eggs are tight in the marketplace right now,” Purdum added.

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On the bright side, while general inflation is spiking the price of groceries, and now egg prices are increasing from the strains brought on by the bird flu, the price of just chicken has fallen slightly, since the avian flu seems to predominantly affect laying chickens and not meat poultry, CNBC added.

But the bird flu has managed to kill millions of birds, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

There are 46 states that have had poultry affected and over 50 million poultry birds have died, either from the virus or due to preventive culling, the CDC reported.

The U.S. is not in as dire straits as the U.K., as some of its grocery chains ration the eggs, but the avian flu is widespread and hurting markets across the world.

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