Egg prices rise after Avian Influenza shuts down Midwest bird farms

LEBANON AND COLCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) The warehouse at Mitlisky Egg Farm in Lebanon is filled with thousands of boxes of eggs supplied by local farmers.

The egg producers here in the east have not been affected by the Avian Flu but still they are not seeing the boost in business you might expect.

“It’s definitely a crisis in the egg business right now with the loss of about 40-45 million birds,” says Rich Mitlitsky as he walks us through the warehouse.

His family has been in the egg business for fifty years. He says since the Avian Flu has hit many Midwest egg producers the demand has risen and so have prices to historically high levels

“So we’ll have to see how the customer reacts,” says Mitlisky. “How the consumer when they walk into the store and they see eggs for four dollars a dozen it will definitely hit them.”

Herman’s Diner in Colchester estimates it’s cooked up 3 million eggs in the last 30-something years and this past week it’s seen prices jump to more than sixty dollars a case.

“We buy them at the restaurant warehouse and it’s even cheaper there and they’ve still gone up $20 a case,” says owner Jane Bittman.

She doesn’t want to pass the cost along to her customers.

“I don’t like to do that to my customers because they’re all like regulars and I don’t want to raise the price,” explains Bittman.

“To replace 40, 45 million birds is approximately an 18 month process,” estimates Mitlisky.

In the meantime local eggs are more in demand and local farmers hope they can continue to keep their birds healthy.

“It’s still not under control,” says Mitlisky. “There’s been farms as of last week still getting hit with AI. So it’s a very nerve wracking experience for us right now.

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