Cal-Maine Foods Charged With Egg Price-Gouging by Texas

April 25, 2020
Texas attorney general accuses the nation’s largest egg producer of price gouging during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cal-Maine Foods, the largest producer and distributor of fresh shell eggs in the U.S., “strongly denies allegations” that it engaged in egg price-gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic, as charged by the Texas attorney general.

“Cal-Maine has not exploited this tragic national pandemic for gain,” the company said in a response to the lawsuit, filed April 23. “Cal-Maine Foods strongly denies these allegations and will vigorously defend itself against the lawsuit.

“Cal-Maine Foods has not changed its longstanding approach to pricing,” the company continued, noting there has always been great volatility in the egg market. Cal-Maine prices eggs based on a model from independent, third-party market quotes published by Urner Barry, “the leading provider of protein market news and information for the food industry. Since the mid-1800s, Urner Barry has been the standard medium through which buyers and sellers gauge fair market value,” the egg company said.

“The recent increase in the price of eggs is directly related to unprecedented retail demand, which also occurred during the peak Easter season when demand for eggs is typically high, not the result of price-gouging nor any other improper conduct by Cal-Maine Foods.”

The company gave examples of egg price volatility in the past eight months:

  • Aug. 1, 2019: $0.64
  • Aug. 29: $1.29
  • Sept. 19: $0.84
  • Nov. 21: $1.77
  • Jan. 2, 2020: $0.97
  • Feb. 27: $1.13
  • March 26: $3.18
  • April 22: $1.16

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