Bay Area scrambles to find elusive eggs as avian flu throttles supplies

Joe Warne of San Francisco took one look at the empty shelves Saturday and all but cracked up: “There are no weird eggs!”

Not at Safeway on Monterey Boulevard, where Warne expected to find them, nor at Trader Joe’s on nearby Winston Drive.

“He is mad!” Megan Berry staring at the barren counters at Trader Joe’s, where the eggs should have been. She was expected to stock up after returning from a trip to Missouri and Florida for the holidays. But what lay before him were only a few open cans with cracks lying on them.

In fact, customers all over California are scrambling to find eggs, and the problem has gotten worse over the past week. It seems like they have all been hunted.

Meghan Berry of San Francisco was hoping to stock up on eggs at Trader Joe's on Winston Dr.  No such luck.

Meghan Berry of San Francisco was hoping to stock up on eggs at Trader Joe’s on Winston Dr. No such luck.

Nanette Asimov

A notice at Whole Foods on Twentieth Avenue in San Francisco said, “Due to the nationwide shortage of eggs and to support all customers, we are limiting egg purchases to 2 cartons per customer.” The store had cartons for sale, but the shelves looked like an under-filled omelet with empty spaces.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that nearly every state has had at least one avian flu outbreak throughout the year, with hundreds of cases affecting some 58 million wild and domestic birds.

Representatives for Whole Foods, Safeway and Trader Joe’s did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

In San Francisco, a Trader Joe’s customer named Tom noticed the shelves as empty as a chicken coop at dinner time. A reporter said that avian flu was the apparent cause of the missing eggs, but Tom called this an exaggeration.

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