(Reuters) — Imported eggs from the United States arrived at Incheon International Airport on Saturday (January 14) to ease South Korea’s egg shortage caused by its worst-ever bird flu epidemic.
Handout footage from the South Korean agriculture ministry showed workers unloading 100 tonnes of fresh eggs from the United States out of a Korean Air cargo plane.
Later in the day, South Korea’s other major airline Asiana Airline is also scheduled to deliver 100 tonnes of eggs, the airline spokesman confirmed.
These are the first fresh egg imports from the U.S. to South Korea and the first fresh egg imports since 1999.
The country’s agriculture ministry said in a statement on Friday (January 13) that 1,500 tonnes of shell eggs, meaning about 25 million eggs, are expected to come into the country from the U.S. and Spain ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Many traditional dishes such as Korean pancakes require the use of eggs in the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins on January 27 this year.
Since the first bird flu outbreak was confirmed in November last year, South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, culled a record of over 31 million farm birds, mainly egg-laying hens, that caused a sharp increase in egg prices.
The average retail price of 30 eggs shot up 75 percent to 9,491 won ($8.09) as of Friday compared with prices before the first bird flu outbreak of the winter in mid-November, according to state-run Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp.