U.S. Accepting EU Egg Imports After Massive Losses Due to Avian Flu
Since January of this year the U.S. has lost approximately 35 million laying hens, or 10% of its national flock to bird flu. In a move to replace lost egg supplies, the country is granting approval for EU egg imports for the first time since 1987. So far, approval has been given to five Dutch companies to export their eggs and Germany may also receive approval in the near future.
Dutch egg producers have been lobbying for years to gain access to the U.S. market. “Prices for egg white powder in the US have been around double that of the EU for two years; that is why we began the process to gain market access,” explains Hubert Andela, president of the Dutch Association of Egg Traders (ANEVEI).
Although welcome, the sudden market access will likely disrupt trade within and between EU member countries. Estimates suggest that 1% of Dutch-produced eggs could be bound for the U.S., taking approximately 100 million eggs away from its traditional buyers – most prominently, Germany.
In the U.S. the price of a dozen eggs has reach record highs amid the country’s worst outbreak of bird flu in its history, and the impact of the loss of millions of bird is expected to continue to be felt into next year.
End users are warning that although the opening of the U.S. market to EU eggs is helpful, more needs to be done, stating that many U.S. food manufacturers and bakers will be facing ‘dire situations’ in the near future if additional actions are not taken to alleviate the drop in egg supplies.