Senator Urges FTC to Investigate Skyrocketing Cost of Eggs
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island sent a letter Tuesday asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate substantial price increases in eggs, with a focus on examining the possibility of “potential price gouging and other deceptive practices.”
Consumers across the country have been complaining for months that the price of eggs – when available – have skyrocketed, which egg industry leaders have blamed on supply shortages due in part to an avian flu outbreak last year, as well as increased costs for feed, fuel, packaging and labor. But, not everyone is buying that explanation.
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island sent a letter Tuesday asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate substantial price increases in eggs, with a focus on examining the possibility of “potential price gouging and other deceptive practices” by major egg companies.
“At a time when food prices are high and many Americans are struggling to afford their groceries, we must examine the industry’s role in perpetuating high prices and hold those responsible accountable for their actions,” the letter read.
The letter cites a price increase of 138% from this time last year, with consumers from his state of Rhode Island paying an average of $5.10 for a dozen eggs in December 2022.
While the letter acknowledged last year’s avian flu outbreak, it stated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture “found that ‘the price increase’ observed in the egg sector was ‘much larger than the decreases in production’ caused by the avian flu,” and there was “little effort among the largest egg producers to increase production to moderate record prices.”
Major egg producers seemed to have reaped record profits despite egg producer flocks only being 6% below normal levels, according to the American Egg Board, the letter continued.
“It is also worth noting that small producers, which have faced many of the same market challenges as the biggest producers, have managed to keep prices under control,” according to the letter.
Reed is not the first one to suspect the alleged practice. Farm Action, a farmer-led advocacy group, also filed a similar request last week, urging the FTC to investigate “apparent price gouging, price coordination and other unfair or deceptive acts or practices by dominant producers of eggs.”
The uptick in egg prices has been tied to other problems in the country, including more cases of people smuggling in raw eggs from Mexico, CBS News reported.
"We are seeing an increase in people attempting to cross eggs from Juarez to El Paso because they are significantly less expensive in Mexico than the U.S.," a spokesperson from U.S. Customs and Border Protection told CBS News. "This is also occurring with added frequency at other Southwest border locations."
Many agricultural products, including eggs, are prohibited from entering the U.S., according to federal customs laws.
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