Were anti-theft devices fitted to egg cartons during the January 2023 shortage?


Grocery stores locked egg cartons that closed in January 2023 with anti-theft devices amid an egg shortage.



Eggs are expensive these days—but so are they the expensive? A widely seen photo posted on the Reddit social platform showed a person holding a carton of eggs that appeared to have been locked with an anti-theft device.

Eggs locked with anti-theft device

The meme appears to mock the fact that in January 2023, egg prices were skyrocketing and the dairy product was in short supply, partly due to widespread distribution outbreak the bird flu. Citing the US Department of Agriculture, The New York Times reported that 57 million chickens have been affected by the highly contagious virus since February 2022.

Flocks that were infected or exposed were “culled out to prevent the spread of the virus, a measure that has resulted in the depopulation of more than 44 million layers in the US since the outbreak,” according to the Times.

And while it’s possible that a grocery store somewhere had locks on egg cartons, we found no evidence that this was a widespread practice, not least because shoppers and store employees often lift egg carton lids to make sure none are broken before leaving the facility. Anyone who can take an egg out of a box and hide it in order to steal it without breaking it is probably more skilled than average.

We have found no evidence at this time to support the claim that grocery stores put locks on egg cartons as an industry practice. We’ll update this story as more information comes to light.


Jimenez, Jesus. “Can you find eggs here or there? Can you find them anywhere?” The New York TimesJanuary 12, 2023. NYTimes.com,

“Why are eggs so expensive and WTF am I cooking instead?” Good AppetiteJanuary 17, 2023,

“Confirmations of highly pathogenic avian influenza in livestock and backyard flocks.” USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Retrieved January 17, 2023.

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/anti-theft-locks-eggs-shortage-2023/ Were anti-theft devices fitted to egg cartons during the January 2023 shortage?

Brian Ashcraft

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