Petaluma producer predicts 25-cent hike as demand exceeds supply

Petaluma egg producer Arnie Riebli says local egg prices are more likely to rise than fall in the aftermath of the huge Iowa recall linked to a salmonella outbreak.

Riebli, one of the North Bay's largest egg producers, acknowledged Monday that demand could fall if enough consumers stop buying eggs. But he said the recall has squeezed supply, and food distributors already are calling his Sunrise Farms to see if he has extra eggs to sell.

"We've been getting phone calls," said Riebli, a partner in operations that produce more than 1 million eggs a day. "We have to say we're sorry, but we have to take care of the customers we have."

His prediction: prices will rise "at least 25 cents" a dozen.

Other industry observers say it's too early to know whether prices will rise or fall because of the salmonella outbreak. But generally they don't expect a big impact on consumer's pocketbooks.

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