Egg prices surge after chicken imports stop

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Egg prices surge after chicken imports stop

Egg prices are on the rise again after the government halted chicken imports from the United States and Spain due to outbreaks of bird flu there, industry sources said Thursday.

In recent months, chicken and egg prices have surged to their highest levels in three decades as a result of mass culling following a nationwide outbreak of avian influenza late last year. More than 33 million chickens were slaughtered.

Prices fell briefly after chickens and eggs were imported from the United States and Spain, but they have begun moving up again. The retail price for a carton of 30 eggs rose to 7,696 won ($6.70) as of Wednesday, up from 7,311 won a month earlier and 5,350 won from a year earlier, according to the Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation.

“Avian influenza has subsided recently, but the outbreak of bird flu in the United States and Spain has made it difficult for us to import chickens,” an official at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said. “Eggs are currently in short supply, and it will take considerable time for egg prices to stabilize.”

An industry source estimated it would take at least half a year.

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