Cracks in SA's egg market
Big food retailers say that, for now, they are finding sufficient eggs to meet demand in spite of the bird flu outbreaks — but it’s producers who are at the sharp end, as there is no insurance against the virus
The chronic egg shortage shows no sign of easing any time soon, with 23 egg farms affected by the bird flu taking a potential 3.7m eggs a day out of circulation. And there’s a sense things are likely to get worse before they get better. This shortage not only poses a risk for food-price inflation because of rising costs, but jobs have been lost. Though some big retailers appear fairly stoic at this point, retail shortages on the shelves look as if they’re looming and in some instances in the Western Cape notices of reduced stock levels are already popping up. Since the outbreak of the bird flu in June this year, the virus has been widespread, with many of the cases being in the Western Cape, says the SA Poultry Association. Almost 3m birds have been culled or are in the process of being culled — again, mainly in the Western Cape. The SA Poultry Association told Eyewitness News that commercial egg production had dropped to 17m a day from 20.4m after the H5N8 virus was picked up in Ju...
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