Egg shelves are empty at some Colorado grocery stores. Here’s what shoppers need to know about the egg shortage.

Colorado’s egg industry contending with nationwide outbreaks of avian influenza, consumer demand and a new state law

Megan Ulu-Lani Boyanton
The Denver Post
Shoppers walk past the frozen turkey case Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, at City Market in Breckenridge.
Lindsey Toomer/Summit Daily News

Colorado shoppers on the hunt for eggs are often finding shelves empty or picked over, as both avian flu and a new state law have destabilized grocers’ supply chains.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza, a highly-contagious virus that can kill domestic poultry, is the main culprit for the shortage, said Scott Scarborough, owner and head farmer of City Farm LLC in Montrose.

He also pointed to a new state law requiring that all eggs sold in grocery stores and produced on Colorado farms be cage-free. As demand for cage-free eggs skyrockets after the mandate took effect on Jan. 1, “that’s adding to the problem,” said Scarborough, who uses the free-range and pasture-raised approaches. “There’s not that many people who’ve been doing cage-free eggs.”

Last week, Scarborough noticed empty store shelves in his Western Slope community. Grocers with eggs in stock placed limits on the amount customers could purchase.

He predicted the tight supply could last through 2023. “It’s not going to get a lot better this next year.”


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