Consumers’ wallets have suffered from skyrocketing inflation in the US over the past year.
The latest concern is eggs, the price of which was up 138% in December from a year earlier, to $4.25 a dozen, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A farmer’s group is calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the increase for signs of price inflation by leading egg producers.
Various groups, from regulators to farmers and industry officials, have often argued in recent years over the power of top farms to set prices and drive up consumer prices for groceries.
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The country’s antitrust regulator should investigate record-high profits at the largest egg company, Farm Action said in a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan on Thursday.
That egg producer is Cal-Maine Foods, which controls 20% of the retail egg market.
Quarterly sales in Cal-Maine increased 110% and gross profit increased more than 600% from the same quarter in the prior fiscal year, according to a filing.
The company pointed to reduced egg supplies across the country due to the avian flu driving up prices as the reason for its record sales.
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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) also pointed to a record outbreak of avian flu as the reason for the high prices.
Since early 2022, nearly 58 million chickens and turkeys have been killed by bird flu or to contain the spread of the virus, primarily in March and April, according to the USDA.
U.S. egg production was about 5% lower in October than last year, and egg supplies were down 29% in December compared to the start of the year, a significant drop but one that may not explain record high prices, he said. Basel Musharbash, a lawyer with Farm Action.
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“We want the FTC to step in and see if consumer prices are being eroded,” Musharbash said.
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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 wholesale egg prices are starting to fall.
FOX Business has contacted the FTC for comment.