Consumer prices likely to jump again as NC farms battle bird flu

Chicken and egg prices are rising as the U.S. deals with the worst avian flu outbreak in seven years. And North Carolina’s billion-dollar poultry industry is taking a major hit.

The virus has been detected in more than 20 states and has affected more than 23 million birds. As of April 6, more than 300,000 birds at seven commercial flocks in North Carolina had been euthanized as part of safety measures intended to mitigate the spread of the virus, according to numbers from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Chicken and egg prices were already high due to inflation before the virus began to spread, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the outbreak could contribute to more price increases. In its March Food Price Outlook, the department predicted poultry prices to increase between 6% to 7% and egg prices to jump 2.5% to 3.5% this year.

Boneless and skinless chicken breast reached $3.93 per pound this week, up from $3.14 the previous week, according to the USDA. The Wall Street Journal reported April 2 that the cost of a dozen eggs has reached $2.88, up 52% since Feb. 8, according to market research firm Urner Barry.

In addition to consumer costs, further spread of the virus could be damaging to the state’s poultry industry and broader economy, said Jay Boyette, commodities director for the N.C. Farm Bureau.

Keep reading here.

(WATCH BELOW: Avian flu outbreak spreads concern for farmers in North Carolina)

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