An outbreak of the avian flu (H5N2) in the United States has killed off more than 35 million egg-laying hens in the country, which amounts to 10 percent of the domestic egg market. With egg prices seeing a 120% price hike on average in the last month, the U.S. has struck deals with European partners to help fill the void, and Germany is leading the way.
Germany already has 7 to 8.5 million eggs on their way to the U.S., making it the first European egg import in more than a decade. The initial contract with Germany calls for 28 million eggs, and a deal to match that on a monthly basis is currently being worked out.
Most Americans won’t notice a difference though as the eggs being imported are not the fresh eggs found in the grocery aisle. Fresh eggs at the grocery store need to be as fresh as possible and the process of importing the eggs would not be cost-effective to match those requirements. Instead, the imported eggs will be in the form of liquid or powdered egg whites and yolks.
The Netherlands are also joining Germany in supplying egg products to the US, with France, Spain, Chile, Argentina and Portugal all on a list of approved countries for egg imports.
While the 28 million eggs estimated to be imported from Germany each month helps with the shortage, it will not be fully sufficient as the recent decrease in egg-laying hens has resulted in a shortage of 28 million eggs per day.