Since the raging avian flu outbreak that killed millions of egg-laying chickens began this past summer, the industry has yet to recover. While the egg shortage had a slightly significant impact on the University of Connecticut’s Dining Services at the start of the fall semester, the situation has extended to cutting down on eggs in South Dining Hall, according to assistant director Michael White.
The decline in egg production has made for high prices. USDA data says that in 2013 and 2014, farmers received an average of $0.86 per dozen eggs. This past August, they received $2.38 per dozen because of the low supply, according to prairiebizmag.com.
The flu has killed over 47 million egg-laying hens since the May outbreak, according to USNews.com
The main concern for UConn is sourcing its pasteurized eggs, which are used for omelets and various bakery items. The lack of the product has forced Dining Services to cut the South Dining Hall omelet bar significantly, and students have definitely taken notice.
“My friends and I are always angry that we have to go to McMahon to get (omelets) now,” said Seyoung Lim, a third-semester physiology and neurobiology major. “And South’s omelets are better than McMahon’s.”
“We’re still getting these pasteurized eggs, but just not in the quantity that we usually get them in,” culinary manager Robert Landolphi said for the Daily Campus’s first article about the egg shortage.
While Landolphi also added that UConn is now sourcing about 50,000 eggs from local farms, those eggs spoil easier than pasteurized eggs and cannot be stored after they’ve been cracked. However, baked goods require pasteurized eggs as well as omelets.
“We are trying to use the liquid eggs in the dining halls in our pancake mixes and other recipes first,” White said.
There is no set schedule for South’s omelet bar. It will be open once or twice a week, depending on when pasteurized eggs are available in the quantity necessary for making omelets, White said.
“Much of our menu right now with regards to eggs is driven by product availability,” White said. “…We have not advertised a specific rotation.”
White said the only approaches Dining Services has used to address the effects of the egg shortage at UConn have been through the Daily Campus and WHUS radio.
While it may take upwards of 18 months to repopulate the millions of hens lost to the avian flu, United Egg Producers, a U.S. egg farmer collaborative, says egg stocks should be back to normal in just a few months, according to bakeryandsnacks.com.