New Regulations May Drive California Egg Prices Up 40%

Farmers tell Associated Press it will cost millions to upgrade facilities.

Grocery shoppers in California may soon be in for a shock. Egg prices could rise by 40 percent in California because of a new law that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

The law, championed by animal rights advocates, requires farmers selling eggs in California to house their hens in larger structures. This stipulation also applies to eggs brought into the state from other parts of the country.

On Jan. 1, CBS “Evening News” called it a “Happy New Year indeed” for chickens in California, but joked that “consumers may be missing the yolk” as egg prices rise.

California is the country’s largest consumer of eggs, The Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 3. Farmers hoping to sell their eggs there will need to spend “hundreds of millions of dollars overhauling their farms” in order to conform to the new rules.

Jim Dean, president and CEO of Centrum Valley Farms in Iowa and Ohio, said it could cost his company “millions upon millions of dollars” to comply, according to a Jan. 1, Associated Press story.

But it turns out that isn’t the only bad news about the law. AP added that the price of revamping henhouses and fewer hens per henhouse will result in farmers passing on costs to consumers in California, driving up prices, possibly as much as 40 percent.  The regulation might also end up hurting chickens, too, since “housing them in larger pens means they are more likely to run, breaking a leg or wing,” according to one expert AP included.