By Brian Hagberg
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Regular visitors to The Satellite Dish dining facility will see an increase in pricing with a decrease in some portion sizes, beginning July 1, due to the recent outbreak of avian influenza, more commonly known as bird flu.
As of June 17, more than 220 cases of H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza have affected more than 48 million birds in 15 states, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Iowa, in particular, has felt the brunt of this outbreak. Since the first detected case was reported there April 19, nearly 32 million birds have been affected.
Because many of the chickens affected are egg-laying hens, the supply of eggs will be drastically decreased for the foreseeable future, meaning consumers will see a decrease in availability and an increase in cost. Schriever Air Force Base members will see this increase at The Dish beginning July 1.
“[The cost to us] of eggs is going to go up approximately 193 percent,” said Karen Draper, Schriever Sustainment Service flight chief. “The Air Force is looking at reforming recipes to use fewer eggs, but obviously scrambled eggs are scrambled eggs. We will be limiting how many a customer can get, and the price will probably go up.”
Draper said the price for customers is equal to the price food services pays for the food plus 20 percent. The 20 percent is how food services pays for the free condiments customers have access to.
An email from Bill Spencer, Air Force Food and Beverage Division chief Food and Beverage Operations, lists the following changes effective July 1: customers will be limited to only one egg entrée per meal (i.e. two fried eggs, one omelet, one portion of scrambled eggs, one breakfast sandwich); French toast will only be offered twice per week; premade Chef Salads in the Grab and Go section will no longer have eggs; eggs will only be offered twice per week as a salad bar option; breaded items previously made with an egg wash will now be made with buttermilk or yogurt; items requiring a binding agent (i.e. meatloaf and meatballs) will use an alternative such as rice or oats.
“We use eggs in desserts, meatloaf, and a lot of fried or battered things go through an egg wash so we’re coming up with some alternatives to use instead of egg,” Draper said. “The Air Force is trying to look at some of their recipes and do some replacements, but we still need to give a good product that tastes good.”
Draper added that, for now, there has been no impact on the supply of poultry meat so those menu items, chicken breast, chicken wings, turkey, etc., will not be affected. Food services is also planning to have posters put up at the entrance to The Dish giving more detailed information about portion sizes and pricing.
“Right now, everything we’re getting is about egg-laying hens, and as we get more information we’ll get that out to [the base],” she said. “If you’re used to going to [The Dish] a lot, you’re used to the prices. If our prices go up, we have to increase, we don’t have an option.”
For more information, contact food services at 567-4732.