The classic American breakfast may become more expensive in the coming months thanks to soaring egg prices in the face of the avian flu outbreak that continues to spread in the Midwestern United States.
The U.S. is experiencing an egg shortage because of what experts say is the biggest outbreak of bird flu in American history. The United States Department of Agriculture reports 179 detections affecting 40,721,073 birds spread across 14 states as of May 2015: Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oregon, California, Idaho and Washington.
With neighboring Mexico and Canada dealing with their own avian flu problems, importing eggs seems the most likely solution to meeting the U.S. consumer demand for eggs.
According to Rick Brown, senior vice president of commodity market analysis from Urner Barry, "Canada is short on eggs and has been buying heavily from the U.S. for the last several years. Mexico has been dealing with its own outbreaks of avian influenza, so they're banned from importing into the U.S.," Huffington Post reports.
Brown added that Europe is probably the best place for importing eggs.
The wholesale price of a dozen breaker eggs – those sold in liquid, frozen or dried form – has jumped from $0.63 in April to $1.83 in the last week of May. Standard eggs have increased from $1.19 to $2.03.
The baking industry is one of the most affected industries in the country, and some groups are pushing USDA and Congress to expedite the thumbs up for importing.
Cory Martin of the American Bakers Association said that some of their members do not receive eggs from their suppliers anymore, while others receive reduced amounts.
"They're looking for eggs everywhere. And the problem is, there's not enough egg substitute available right now to make up for the demand," Martin told the Huffington Post.
While the battle against bird flu continues, scientists are still looking for answers about how it spreads.
"The one question we cannot answer is how is it getting from migratory birds into these flocks," said Dr. Jarra Jagne of Cornell University, according to NBC News.
While they are still grappling for answers, providing efficient biosecurity is the best way to keep it from spreading further. USDA associate deputy administrator Jack Shere told NBC News that they are hoping for warm weather.
"That's going to help us," he said. "When we get above 65 it starts to dry the virus out ... (at) 85 the virus is practically dead."