Bloomer (WQOW) – Millions of birds lost to avian influenza have a local bakery scrambling to find egg supplies.
Avian influenza affected 47 million birds nationwide, including 35 million layer hens. Wisconsin lost nearly 2 million birds to the disease but haven't had a new case since May 4. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture said state officials will lift quarantines for the last of the effect farms Thursday, and already removed the restrictions on neighboring poultry operations Wednesday. Local businesses still felt the effect of the virus on egg prices.
“There's been a bit of a kink put into the egg market with the number of egg-laying operations that have been taken offline and off-cycle due to AV5,” Eau Claire County UW-Extension Agriculture Agent Mark Hagedorn said.
Chrissy's Bloomer Bakery received two buckets of liquid eggs each week to bake the goods that sweeten their store. Those liquid egg prices went up 240 percent since May. The bakery said their suppliers warned of a price increase two weeks ago.
“And the next week was, 'oh, we think we're going to have some shortages,' and then it was 'it's a first-come-first-serve basis. We don't know if you're going to get your eggs tomorrow on your delivery,'” Chrissy's Bloomer Bakery Owner Chrissy Meisner said.
The bakery contacted another company to make this week's cut, but they don't know how long that can continue.
“If for some reason we can't get them and we have to go to the grocery store, and I'm not getting wholesale prices, it's going to really affect me a lot,” Meisner said. “We do our best to keep our prices low for everybody, but when the cost of the product comes up, unfortunately, the cost has to go up a little bit.”
The bakery has been eating the extra costs so far, and so were everyday consumers. Large eggs in Eau Claire were $3.19 in Festival Foods, and $2.99 at Gordy's Country Market on Wednesday. Kwik Trip still advertised eggs for $0.99, but declined to speak with News 18 in case they did have to raise their prices.
Avian influenza did have local fairs concerned about the health of their show animals, but the Eau Claire County and Northern Wisconsin State Fairs said they would have poultry shows in 2015.