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Bird flu outbreak threatens egg supply, prices

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The spring’s bird flu outbreak in the Midwest has threatened egg supplies and costs but shoppers in Indiana have yet to notice a difference when stocking their kitchens.

On Wednesday, representatives from Cincinnati, Ohio based Kroger, an Indianapolis food cooperative, and a farmers’ market vendor individually confirmed effects of the nationwide egg shortage have not been experienced at the various businesses.

The bird flu has been behind the deaths of nine percent of the nation’s egg-laying birds, according to a report by CNN.

The USDA says the average wholesale price of eggs could jump 30 cents a dozen.

It’s a situation Kroger spokesman John Elliot said the company is monitoring closely. According to Elliot, if the shortage evolves, customers could see price increases but could not estimate a time frame.

Rachel Ames of Red Barn Farms in Greencastle said the bird flu has not affected her family’s poultry but that future stock is to be determined.

“We’re not breeding them. We’re bringing them in and we’re raising them and we’re taking care of the eggs,” Ames said. “If you can’t bring them in and our layers stop laying, that’s how it’s going to affect us.”

Nathan Roberts, general manager of Pogue’s Run Grocer in Indianapolis, suggested supply issues elsewhere are a product of production styles.

“They’re using confined feeding operations in which you might have a million layers inside one building. It’s kind of similar to if you put a million humans inside a small building. You’re going to have some issues with bacteria and viruses and stuff going through the population,” Roberts said.