Skyrocketing inflation in the US this past year has had an impact on consumers’ wallets.
The latest concern is eggs, whose price was up 138% in December from a year earlier, to $4.25 a dozen, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A farm group is asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to examine the rise for signs of price gouging by top egg companies.
Groups ranging from regulators to farmers and industry officials have often argued in recent years about the power of top agribusinesses to set prices and raise what consumers pay for groceries.
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The nation’s antitrust regulator should investigate high-level profits at the top egg company, Farm Action said Thursday in a letter to FTC chairman Lina Khan.
That egg producer is Cal-Maine Foods, which controls 20% of the retail egg market.
Cal-Maine had quarterly sales up 110% and gross profits up more than 600% over the same quarter in the previous fiscal year, according to a regulatory filing.
The company pointed to a reduction in the supply of eggs across the country due to bird flu driving up prices as the reason for their biggest ever sale.
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The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) also cited a record outbreak of bird flu as a reason for the high prices.
Nearly 58 million chickens and turkeys have been killed by bird flu or to control the spread of the virus since the start of 2022, mostly in March and April, according to the USDA.
US egg production was about 5% lower in October compared to last year, and egg inventories were down 29% in December compared to the beginning of the year, a significant drop, but it may not explain record high prices, said Basel Musharbash. , an attorney with Farm Action.
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“We want the FTC to dig in and see if consumers are reducing prices,” said Musharbash.
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In a statement to Reuters, Cal-Maine said higher production costs are also a factor in higher prices.
The American Egg Board, an egg marketing group, said in a statement that egg prices reflect a variety of factors and that wholesale egg prices are beginning to fall.
FOX Business has reached out to the FTC for comment.