​Bird flu sends egg prices soaring

This Nov. 25, 2014, file photo, shows eggs for sale in a Des Moines, Iowa, grocery store.

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

CHICAGO -- Egg prices have risen 58 percent in the past year, to an average of a $1.85 a dozen.

The reason: Bird flu. And the impact is spreading through the food chain.

On Chicago's South Side, egg wholesaler Dutch Farms processes 12 million eggs a week for grocery stores in the Midwest. Jay Earnshaw runs egg operations and said the bird flu outbreak has had a direct effect on business.

"A chicken lays one egg a day, no matter where they're at," Earnshaw told CBS News. "Because of the 10 percent loss of the laying flocks of the United States, we see that demand is outpacing supply everywhere."

That short supply has driven egg prices up. In June alone, prices increased more than 18 percent -- the largest monthly jump in more than 40 years.

Supermarket chain Mariano's gets some of its eggs from Dutch Farms. Vice president Jim Hyland says the effects of bird flu are spreading.

"[Eggs] are in other products as well," Hyland said. "They are in baking products, and they're used in gluten-free products as well as a binding agent. ... Those price changes have increased as well.

Although Hyland said the chain has been able to meet demand, others have turned to rationing. Texas supermarket giant HEB has limited shoppers to three dozen eggs each.

Chinese food chain Panda Express replaced the scrambled eggs in its fried rice with corn.

Frozen custard giant Rita's, which uses 1,600 pounds of egg yolks a day, announced it's replacing its signature dessert with soft serve ice cream.

There have been no new cases of bird flu in the past month because the flu can't thrive in the warm weather. But cooler temperatures in the fall may lead to another outbreak.