Egg shortage hits South Korea as it battles worst bird flu

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Moon Hong-nam, a pastry-chef in Seoul, needs at least 15,000 eggs a day to bake cakes, but after South-Korea’s-worst-outbreak of bird-flu and a surge in the prices of eggs.

The chef, who indicated considering changing his menu, said:“We have ridden it out through Christmas with what (supplies) we have secured.

Moon, who works at the LÈSCARGOT bakery in the South Korean capital, added: “But if (bird flu) continues till late January, we will have to raise prices inevitably and make bakery items that do not need eggs.”

About 20 million birds, or 12.2 per cent of South Korea’s poultry stock have been culled to control the outbreak. Most of the birds culled are egg-laying hens.

According to reports, the flu has spread in other parts of Asia as well, particularly in Japan.

In South Korea, the average retail price for 30 eggs has risen nearly 25 per cent to 6,781 won ($5.68) since the outbreak began on Nov.18 — the highest in more than three years, according to state-run Korea Agro-Fisheries, Food Trade Corp.

The price hike is putting a dent in the wallets of Koreans, who usually eat more eggs in the winter including in bread and kimbap, a Korean sushi roll.

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