New bill could lower egg prices by allowing local farmers to sell eggs to restaurants

Feb 27, 2023, 9:25 PM

FILE - Red Star chickens feed in their coop, Jan. 10, 2023, at Historic Wagner Farm in Glenview, Il...

FILE - Red Star chickens feed in their coop, Jan. 10, 2023, at Historic Wagner Farm in Glenview, Ill. The ongoing bird flu outbreak has cost the U.S. government roughly $661 million and added to consumers' pain at the grocery store after more than 58 million birds were slaughtered to limit the spread of the virus. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley, File)

(AP Photo/Erin Hooley, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — A new bill looks to bring egg prices out of the clouds by letting local farms sell restaurants their eggs.

County health departments have blocked restaurants from getting their eggs from smaller Utah farms. The reason is a law passed three years ago that left rules vague for local health officials.

Sponsor of H.B. 523, Rep. Ryan Wilcox (R-Ogden) says his bill would allow farms with less than 3,000 chickens to bring their eggs to market.

“What this bill does is clarify,” he says. “These [eggs] will be approved unless the health department is able to identify a problem with the eggs. If they are, then we don’t want them in the food supply either. But if they’re not, then it’s, really, already our policy that they (restaurants) can buy from our local suppliers.

This new bill would clarify that the only reason to stop an egg is if it has mold or other defects. The bill could also lower business costs.

Egg prices, we’re not out of the woods yet

A dozen eggs cost $4.80 on average in the U.S. That’s more than double the price from last January.

A local egg producer says we’re not out of the woods with egg prices yet. Oakdell Farms President Cliff Lillywhite puts the blame on a national problem.

“We’re affected by what’s happening nationwide,” he says. “About 45 million laying hens have been infected with bird flu. We lost an entire farm in Cache Valley with a little over a million birds. It obviously has impacted us and the state. We’re well on our way back to that, but nationwide, it’s still a big issue.”

Lillywhite adds that the war in Ukraine has raised chicken feed prices and costs from labor to transportation continue to rise.

Though the bill could lower business costs, Lillywhite says he has one concern with it.

“It does not require the same control at a small producer level than it does at a large producer level. To not just control the bird flu, but particularly to control food safety items,” he says.

Devin Oldroyd contributed to this story.

Related stories

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Politics + Government

the front of a homeless shelter, budget plan utah...

Eric Cabrera

Salt Lake business leaders show support for governor’s budget plan to help homeless people in Utah

Leaders who approve of the budget plan said they had seen a huge difference in downtown Salt Lake over the past six months.

34 minutes ago

nikki haley shown, she will be in utah next week...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

Nikki Haley to visit Utah next week ahead of Super Tuesday presidential caucus votes

Nikki Haley plans to hold a rally at the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts on Utah Valley University's campus in Orem on the morning of Feb. 28.

3 hours ago

solar panel shown, solar power in utah is the major focus of a proposed law...

Heather Peterson

Bill focusing on solar power customers in Utah gets favorable recommendation in Senate committee

Right now, Rocky Mountain Power only credits solar power customers in Utah about 5 cents for the power they send back to the grid.

4 hours ago

a woman on her phone...

Lindsay Aerts, KSL TV

Utah Legislature approves candidate signature gathering change

A shift is coming for candidates who have to gather signatures to get on the ballot, an app allowing them to verify a voter's eligibility in real-time.

4 hours ago

Members of the Palestinian civil defense extinguish a fire in a building in the east of Rafah, the ...

Richard Roth and Tara John, CNN

US proposes a ‘temporary ceasefire’ in Gaza in draft UN resolution

The United States has proposed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a temporary ceasefire in Israel’s war against Hamas

12 hours ago

Natural Resources...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Utah Division of Natural Resources wants to combine police agencies

The Utah Division of Natural Resources is seeking to combine its four law enforcements agencies into one unit.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

New bill could lower egg prices by allowing local farmers to sell eggs to restaurants