There has been a lot of speculation and rumors about a possible turkey shortage this Thanksgiving. The Avian flu killed or forced the destruction of millions of domestically raised turkeys in the Midwest.
But South Georgia grocers say you don't have to worry about running short on your Holiday menu.
A new shipment of frozen turkeys arrived at Mike's Country Store Thursday, and were put on the shelves for customers. Manager Todd Whigham said "The first of October we already got turkeys in. So there is going to be turkeys."
The freezer case at the Pic-N-Sav in East Albany is also packed with turkeys. "No shortage of turkeys with Thanksgiving on the horizon," Manager Lee Johnson said. "No, it's just a lot of rumors and speculation."
Avian influenza's H5 N2 strain last spring and summer led to the destruction and death of millions of turkeys and poultry in Minnesota and Iowa, the largest producers in the United States. But grocers say your Thanksgiving meal was already processed.
Johnson said "The turkeys for this year were killed last year. And so while next year's crop may, or could be effected, this year should be fine."
Supply and demand does rule. The price for your turkey could be higher, but grocers say not dramatically. Whigham said "They might be a little pricier this year, but there are turkeys. There will be turkeys available."
If there is a shortage, it could be fresh turkeys that some demand. Johnson said, "The toms were the most effected by the bird flu. Maybe an issue. Getting a fresh hen I don't really see a problem with it. But a tom could be a problem fresh."
But grocers say no need for a run on turkeys, grocers will have plenty. The grocers we talked with said they don't think you the customer will see much of a price increase. They say their stores will bear the extra cost, and keep the turkey prices low, to get you to shop for your holiday meal with them.
Albany restaurants that sell a lot of eggs, like Pearly's Famous Country Cooking, say the price increase and wild fluctuations with the cost of eggs has them concerned. It's all caused by the avian flu, as well.
Last year at this time the wholesale cost of a dozen eggs to Pearly's was $1.25. Yesterday it was $1.95. And the price has been as high as $2.50 a dozen. Restaurants say the almost weekly swing of prices is difficult.
"It's a market price. It could come down. We just have to watch it. And if we just pass it immediately on to our consumers we could price ourselves out of business pretty quick," said Manager Carl Young.
Pearly's cooks between 60 to 140 dozen eggs per day, so that egg price increase is significant. Grocers say egg prices could go up during the holidays as well, but there will be no shortage.