Consumer wallets have been hit by skyrocketing US inflation over the past year.
The latest concern is eggs, which rose 138% in December from a year earlier to $4.25 a dozen, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Farmers group calls on Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to examine the rise for signs of price increases from the leading egg companies.
Groups ranging from regulators to farmers and industry representatives have frequently argued in recent years over the power of major agricultural firms to set prices and raise what consumers pay for groceries.
The nation’s antitrust regulator should investigate the record-high profits of a leading egg company, Farm Action said Thursday in a letter to FTC Chairman Lina Khan.
That egg producer is Cal-Maine Foods, which controls 20% of the retail egg market.
Cal-Maine Quarterly Sales were up 110% and gross profits were up more than 600% from the same quarter of the previous fiscal year, according to a regulatory filing.
The company cited a reduced supply of eggs nationwide due to bird flu, which is driving up prices, as the reason for its record sales.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) also cited a record bird flu outbreak as a reason for the high prices.
Nearly 58 million chickens and turkeys were killed by bird flu or to control the spread of the virus starting in early 2022, mostly in March and April, according to the USDA.
U.S. egg production was about 5% lower in October than last year, and egg stocks fell 29% in December compared to the start of the year, a significant drop but one that may not explain the record highs prices, said Basel Musharbash, a lawyer at Farm Action.
“We want the Federal Trade Commission to dig deeper and see if consumers are being inflated,” Musharbash said.
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In a statement to Reuters, Cal-Maine said higher production costs were also a factor in the higher prices.
The American Egg Board, an egg marketing group, said in a statement that egg prices reflect a variety of factors and that wholesale egg prices are beginning to fall.
FOX Business has reached out to the FTC for comment.
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