Houston-area restaurants, grocery stores feel effect of egg shortage

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- We first told you about a looming egg shortage a few weeks ago. Now it is hitting home. From restaurants to grocery stores, we are now seeing the impact of the avian flu outbreak.

There are plenty of eggs at HEB. But, in order to prevent any future shortages, customers are being told they can only buy three-dozen at a time. The company says it's to stop commercial users from coming in and buying up all the supply.

It turns out the nation's egg supply is being disrupted by a major outbreak avian flu in the Midwest.

"They are buying from major manufacturers and it's major manufacturers that are going to have these problems," said John Berry of Wabash Feed and Garden Store.

There is no trace of bird flu at Wabash in Houston and no problem getting eggs either because Wabash buys from a local farmer.

However, across the country, millions of chickens have been killed in an effort to stop an outbreak of avian flu.

Farmers say replacing those eggs-laying hens will take time, about 6 months before new birds will be old enough to meet the demand for eggs.

HEB is not the only local store making changes.

Whataburger, which used to serve breakfast 24 hours a day, is now only serving breakfast in the morning.

As stores fret over the looming egg shortage, consumers will start seeing the impact.

Wholesales egg prices are going up. In Texas, wholesale prices are up by about a dollar per carton.

"Believe me, they are not going to stop buying eggs. No no matter what they have to pay they are going to buy eggs," said customer Nancy Hekimian.

The avian flu has forced farmers to kill off about 25 percent of the nation's egg laying chickens, but there is no trace of the disease here in Texas.
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