Proposed Congressional Bill Could Increase Egg Prices

US - The National Pork Producers Council warns, if passed, a bill being considered by congress that will set minimum space requirements for laying hens will result in reduced supplies of eggs and higher prices, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 15 June 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

Legislation being considered by Congress would require US egg producers to replace conventional battery cages with new enriched cages that double the amount of space provided for laying hens or lose access to markets.

The National Pork Producers Council is fearful the bill could become a template for legislation that would impact other agricultural industries.

NPPC vice president of domestic policy issues Audrey Adamson warns, if passed, consumers will be impacted directly.

Audrey Adamson-National Pork Producers Council

There will be a price increase.

When you mandate something from the federal government and you mandate enforcement of it there will be a reduction of supply because this will reduce the number of birds that are available to lay eggs, it will reduce supply.

You saw what happened in the UK.

You've seen articles that have come out of UK grocers.

There are no eggs on the shelves in the UK because they're having trouble meeting the EU standards that went into place at the first of the year.

The price of eggs have sky-rocketed in the UK and supply is down so, at the end of the day, eggs being the least cost protein will have a huge impact on consumers, particularly the consumers who are the most needy.

It will have a huge impact on federal feeding program costs particularly in this county's school lunch programs, military programs.

It will have an impact on the federal treasury because the government will be forced into paying higher prices, consumers will be forced into paying higher prices because it reduces consumer choice.

Ms Adamson stresses this is not a food safety issue and does nothing to guarantee consumers are getting what they think they're getting because there's nobody verifying the program.

She notes there are alternatives such as process verified programs that ensure consumers know exactly what they're getting, people understand those programs and are willing to pay a premium for them.

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