Consumers’ wallets were hit by soaring US inflation last year.
The latest concern is eggs, the price of which rose 138% in December from a year earlier to $4.25 per dozen, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A farm group is asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to look into rising signs of price gouging from major egg companies.
Various groups ranging from regulators to farmers and industry officials have often argued in recent years over the power of large agricultural corporations to set prices and raise what consumers pay for groceries.
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The country’s antitrust regulator is expected to review record profits from the largest egg company, Farm Action said Thursday in a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan.
This egg producer is Cal-Maine Foods, which controls 20% of the retail egg market.
Cal-Maine’s quarterly sales rose 110% and gross profit more than 600% from the same quarter a year earlier, according to a regulatory filing.
The company pointed to dwindling egg supply nationwide due to rising bird flu 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 bird flu as the reason for the high prices.
Nearly 58 million chickens and turkeys have been killed by bird flu or to control the spread of the virus since the start of 2022, mostly in March and April, according to the USDA.
U.S. egg production was about 5% lower in October than a year ago, and egg stocks were down 29% in December from the start of the year, a drop important, but that may not explain the record prices, said Basel Musharbash. , a Farm Action attorney.
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“We want the FTC to dig in and see if consumer prices are being abused,” 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 beginning to decline.
FOX Business has contacted the FTC for comment.