Photo: bfraz, Flickr
As if we didn't have enough reason to distrust our egg supply (remember the recall in November?), now we know why prices have gone up. And grocery wholesalers are suing.
Word is, four industry trade groups -- United Egg Producers, United Egg Association, United States Egg Marketers and the Missouri Egg Council -- conspired to manipulate supply to increase demand, thereby falsely inflating the price of eggs in the U.S. The prominent egg producers include Land O'Lakes, Cal-Maine Foods, Hillandale Farms and Ohio Fresh Eggs, among 14 others, according to a press release sent out by prosecuting firm Stueve Siegel Hanson, representing Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc, among six others.
In order to cut down on supply, producers allegedly agreed to kill off hens, which resulted in at least a 40 percent increase in egg prices in 2008, reports the L.A. Times from the following civil complaint filed by Sodexo Inc. The trade groups also increased exports (to further dwindle U.S. supply) and reduced the number of hens per cage, which they marketed as a move towards animal health. That's just wrong.
The plan is said to have gone down as early as 1999, says The Kansas City Star (home of the lawsuit), and since then, egg prices have more than doubled, with a peak of $2.20 per dozen in March 2008 from $1 a dozen in March 2002.