Avian flu impacting egg supply at some Bay Area grocery stores

Grocery shoppers across the Bay Area have reported bare shelves in the egg aisle, and some stores have implemented limits on the number of egg cartons customers can purchase due to an Avian flu outbreak affecting Sonoma County.

At a Safeway in Alameda, a sign was posted notifying customers about the limited egg supply, prompting concerns among shoppers.

"It's sad when anything like that starts to happen. And then, of course, it really brings it home for all of us that there is an impact. It is a supply chain and a food chain," said shopper Tara Fortier.


Avian flu has zoos, backyard chicken owners on alert

It’s not just poultry farms that are seeing high-risk avian flu outbreaks. Wild and domestic birds are also at high risk for the deadly HPAI outbreak.

The issue stems from an Avian flu outbreak in Sonoma County that has wiped out more than a million chickens.

"What happens is they're euthanized humanely, or they die, one or the other. And then we've got to clean up the ranches. And they're not allowed to put more birds on there for a month or two," explained Bill Mattos, president of the California Poultry Federation.

As some ranches clean up and others implement lockdowns to prevent further spread, the impact is noticeable at local grocery stores.

"Initially right now, most of your Bay Area markets might feel some pain because many of their suppliers that are local are going to have a hard time filling the orders until they replenish their flocks," said Mattos.

Zanotto's Market in Willow Glen is closely monitoring the situation and its suppliers.

"Fortunately, because we have so many different suppliers and different methods of getting eggs from different sources, we'll still be able to provide eggs," said Jordan Joaquin of Zanotto's.

Other stores are also working to adapt, sourcing eggs from different parts of the state.

Experts and customers are hopeful the shortage won't last long.

"It's really hard on our grocery stores. It's really sad for the farmers and then there's us. You want to go bake something, and you can't find eggs, or you can't have eggs for breakfast. So it's an impact all the way around," said Fortier.

Experts also warned that shoppers could see a price increase on eggs sas ranchers strive to control the outbreak.