California egg prices skyrocketing due to bird flu, cage law

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- For months now, egg prices have been on the rise, spiking more than 70 percent this summer and forcing some people to just go without.

"I see the price of eggs, I don't eat as many," said Burbank resident Charles Wayne Todd.

The price hike is the result of a perfect storm in the egg industry, which started with the avian flu outbreak in the Midwest. It wiped out some 47 million birds where the bulk of the eggs laid in America are produced.

That egg shortage prompted restaurants like Coco's to stop serving merengue pies and Panda Express to replace the eggs in their fried rice with corn.

"They're saying that because of the caging or something like that. I asked, I actually asked," said Glendale resident Lilliana Menkivar.

A 20 percent cut in the production of California eggs is adding to the storm in the wake of Proposition 2, which was passed by voters. The proposition requires egg farmers to give chickens more space in their cages, a move many Californians applaud even though it means higher prices.

"That's bad clogging them in there. I'll pay a little more than end up with penned-up chicken eggs," Todd said.

Fresh, cage-free eggs are selling for $6 a dozen at local farmers markets -- that's $1 up from last year.

"I feel guilty talking about that because if you're just struggling to put food on the table, eggs are really good go-to food. It would be nice if they were still at a price point that everybody could afford," said Hancock Park resident Jane Paulson.
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