25 years agoJuly 5, 1989
The egg business may be headed for a great fall, and industry experts are not exactly sure how they’ll put the pieces back together again.
Egg consumption has plummeted in the past 15 years, according to William Weishapl of Franklin, one of Delaware County’s last egg farmers. Americans ate an average of 370 eggs a year a decade and a half ago, while the current figure is 235 eggs each, according to Weishapl.
Weishapl is facing hard times. His Mountain Top Egg Farm has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection because of $269,879 in debts, according to the Credit Bureau of Oneonta. “I’m keeping my head above water,” said Weishapl, who plans to keep operating his 18,000-chicken farm which produces 5.4 million eggs a year.
He said his business was hurt when he bought a bad batch of eggs last year to supplement Mountain Top distribution to a Pennsylvania summer camp. The mishap profoundly affected Weishapl’s business because the egg market is already sensitive to health concerns.
Fear of consuming too much cholesterol, which has been linked to heart disease, has kept people away from eggs, said Weishapl.
Since the early 1970s, the American Heart Association has advised people to watch their intake of eggs, which contain about 270 milligrams of cholesterol apiece, he said.
“The health effects are not substantially proven to be true,” according to William Gengenbach of Otsego County Cooperative Extension, which oversees only two fully operating egg producers in the county, dozens less than the figure from 25 years ago.
“All the negative publicity that came with those tactics really does hurt the consumption and the marketing for poultry products,” Gengenbach said.Step Back in Time features news items from The Daily Star 25 and 50 years ago.