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Price increase in poultry, eggs, hurts Utah business and consumers

Posted at 9:20 PM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 23:20:04-04

EDEN, Utah — Next time you hit the grocery store, brace yourself for higher-priced poultry and shortages in some of your favorite items.

Cases of the Avian Flu are sweeping across farms and killing many birds, disrupting the supply chain and its prices.

“Everybody’s seeing it,” said Tom Ferguson, owner of Valley Market.

Valley Market is a independently-owned grocery store in Eden. It’s deli is known for it’s chicken. Ferguson said due to the cost of chicken, they’ve had to stop selling some items.

“We can’t get some of the products we could normally get so that’s affected some of that,” he said.

The cost for each pound of chicken tenders just went up two more dollars this week.

“We’re not making any more money. You just have to pass that cost over to the consumer and that’s where you feel bad,” Ferguson said.

Dave Davis with the Utah Food Industry Association told FOX 13 News that some poultry products have doubled in price over the last six months.

“These are typically your most inexpensive forms of protein out there and we are seeing costs go up for those,” he said.

He said many stores across the state have raised their prices.

“It is cyclical in nature and we have to remember that we’re probably at the peak of the cycle right now,” said Davis.

The Division of Wildlife Resources reports six counties have seen avian flu cases among wild birds. According to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, three counties – Cache, Utah, and Salt Lake – have had domestic cases.

“This has probably been the most major impact that we’ve had or that we’ve seen here in the state of Utah for several years if not ever,” said Commissioner Craig Buttars with the Dept. of Agriculture and Food.

Buttars said the department has been working with federal officials on how to contain the contaminated birds on farms and eliminate them. They’re helping farmers make sure the farm is sanitized and fit to bring in future flocks.

“This is devastating to these family-owned operations and it’ll take years for them to recover,” he explained. “There will be a scarcity or shortage of eggs for some time to come.”

He wants to assure shoppers the chicken and eggs you currently pick up off the shelf are safe to eat.

Ferguson said he hopes customers understand the changes.

“We’re just extremely grateful for their support and helping us all get through this unprecedented time,” he said.