U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer says avian flu is to blame for the rising cost of eggs and that it's imperative to fund government efforts to stop the spread of the illness.
The New York Democrat said Wednesday that the average price of eggs is up nearly 50 percent this year because of the flu, which has forced farmers to euthanize millions of chickens.
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Schumer says the epidemic could prompt even higher prices for eggs. As a result, he told reporters that he'll fight efforts to slash research funding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, money that Schumer says is critical to developing vaccines, treatments and other steps to combat the disease.
Schumer says rising egg costs are putting pressure on consumers as well as restaurants, bakeries and other businesses.