Eggs are so expensive a discount chain will no longer sell them

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A farmer advocacy group says the FTC should investigate major egg producers

Dollar Tree, which not long ago raised its price on most items to $1.25 to account for inflation, says eggs have gotten way too expensive. The chain, which sells a growing number of food products, says it won’t sell eggs at these high prices.

Egg prices have been high for some time but the final straw for Dollar Tree was when the retail price hit $4.21 per dozen. Thirteen months ago eggs sold for $1.59.

A bad outbreak of avian flu that started almost a year ago sent egg prices soaring. Millions of chickens either died from the illness or were culled from flocks.

Industry analysts say flocks of laying hens are being replenished, a move expected to bring down the price of eggs. However, price declines have been modest.

That’s drawn scrutiny from Farm Action, a farmer advocacy group, which in January called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the high price of eggs. The group points a finger at major egg producers, charging they are using avian flu as a cover to jack up egg prices.

‘Collusive scheme’

“The real culprit behind this 138% hike in the price of a carton of eggs appears to be a collusive scheme among industry leaders to turn inflationary conditions and an avian flu outbreak into an opportunity to extract egregious profits reaching as high as 40%,” the group wrote in a letter to the FTC.

Farm Action claims the leading firms in the industry have a history of engaging in “cartelistic conspiracies” to limit production, split markets, and increase prices for consumers.

Regardless of the reason for surging prices, Dollar General says it will not stock eggs in its stores until prices come down. A spokesman told The Daily Mail that could be this fall, or even later.

The company also owns Family Dollar, which has a higher maximum price of $10. The spokesman said Family Dollar will continue to sell eggs, at least for now.

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