January 18, 2023

For many Americans lately, buying eggs has felt like being on an expensive Easter egg hunt.

Bird flu outbreaks have strained the supply of eggs nationwide, driving up prices when demand for the product and inflation remain high.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest update, released Jan. 12, shows food inflation over the past year was again higher than the overall inflation rate. Eggs took the top spot with the biggest price increase of any single food item from December 2021 to December 2022.

But some social media posts are exaggerating just how expensive eggs have become.

“The gov says food inflation is 7%,” read text in a photo in a Jan. 12 Facebook post. “Ask them how that’s possible when eggs have gone up 700% & every single thing I buy has gone up OVER 7%.”

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The Consumer Price Index, which measures changes in the retail prices of goods and services, shows inflation overall was up 6.5% year-over-year in December 2022 before seasonal adjustment. Food costs increased at a higher rate of 10.4% during the same time period.

Egg prices rose significantly at a rate of 60% over the last year, according to the Consumer Price Index. In December 2022, the average price for a dozen eggs in the U.S. was $4.25, up from $1.79 a year earlier, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis data showed. (Average prices measure the price level in a particular month and do not measure price change over time like the Consumer Price Index does, the Federal Reserve Bank notes.)

One of the factors affecting egg prices is the avian influenza, or bird flu, epidemic in the U.S. By the end December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said 43 million egg-laying hens had died because of the disease or depopulation since the outbreak began in February 2022.

Lower-than-usual egg inventories near the end of the year, when demand is up from holiday baking, resulted in several successive weeks of record-high egg prices, the department said. Costs are expected to fall in the coming weeks as egg-laying flocks are restored.

Other foods also had big price increases over the last year. The cost of margarine rose 44% and butter prices increased 31%.

On the other hand, the prices for meats, such as beef and veal, went down 3%.

Our ruling

A Facebook post claimed the cost of eggs has increased 700%.

Prices have increased, but not by that much. The Consumer Price Index shows egg prices rose 60% over the last year, as overall food inflation went up 10.4%.

We rate this claim Mostly False.

Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify the difference between figures from the Consumer Price Index and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

This fact check was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources for this fact check here and more of their fact checks here.

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Sara Swann is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. For two and a half years, she covered voting rights, money in politics, gerrymandering and…
Sara Swann

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