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Eggs rationed at grocery stores; prices at record highs

A carton of eggs on a kitchen counter. (Liz George/American Military News)
January 10, 2023

Eggs are being rationed at some grocery stores in Denver, Colorado, with inflation, the deadliest bird flu epidemic in U.S. history, and a new state law driving prices to record highs.

A sign posted on a barren shelf at a Whole Foods store in Denver, photographed by Axios, said, “Due to a nationwide shortage of eggs and to support all customers, we are limiting egg purchases to 2 cartons per customer. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

The average cost of eggs in a U.S. city rose to a record $3.59 in November, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ most recent data. Prices are beginning to dip after demand surged around the holidays, but that won’t be immediately reflected on store shelves, Axios reported.

Consumer prices have been broadly rising with the rate of inflation climbing the highest it’s been in four decades in 2022, as reported by PBS. 

READ MORE: Troops worry most about inflation, not China or Russia, Air Force secretary says

But food prices have risen faster than overall inflation, rising 10.6 percent over the 12 months leading to November 2022, while the overall inflation rate over that period was 7.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

About 41 million commercial egg-laying hens have been among about 60 million birds killed by the avian influenza outbreak that began in February, according to Axios. Los Angeles Times reporter Sonja Sharp told CBS News that egg prices likely won’t fall until new chickens, born without the infection, grow to egg-laying age. 

The Colorado egg industry is also facing a new state law, which came into effect this year, requiring all egg-laying hens to be kept cage-free by 2025. Scott Scarborough, a Montrose farmer, told the Denver Post the law is “adding to the problem” because “there’s not that many people who’ve been doing cage-free eggs.”

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.