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California Eateries and Grocery Stores Adjust to New Cage Law, Rising Egg Prices

All eggs sold in CA must come from more-humanely raised chickens.

CHAINFOTO24/Shutterstock

Sorry brunch fans: Thanks to a new law that just went into effect in California, restaurant menus might be featuring fewer eggs (or more expensive eggs) in the coming weeks. The Associated Press reports egg prices are expected to rise across the country in response to California's Proposition 2, which was passed back in 2008 but officially implemented on the first day of 2015. As of January 1, all eggs sold in the state of California — which is "the nation's largest consumer of eggs" — must come from birds raised in conditions where they are "able to stand up, lie down, turn around, and fully extend their wings."

As NPR points out, egg producers have been unsuccessfully challenging the law the court, complying with the rules simply by reducing their flock sizes, not by expanding their cages, resulting in fewer eggs. A representative from the California Grocers Association confirms to NPR that egg prices have jumped in the state by "at least 35 percent," and as much as 70 percent. Meanwhile, an agricultural economist tells the NYT he expects prices to eventually "settle 10 to 40 percent higher in California and return to their normal prices elsewhere in the country."

But some brands have already jumped on-board with more animal-friendly practices: In late 2014, Starbucks announced it would change its policy to eventually offer cage-free eggs in all products. The coffee mega-giant did not announce a time frame for the swap, but as the Seattle Times pointed out, one-fifth of all Starbucks stores in the country are located in California.

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