False: Egg shortages are caused by Bill Gates' investments into farm land and a company making artificial eggs.

By: Sandesh M
February 7 2023

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False: Egg shortages are caused by Bill Gates' investments into farm land and a company making artificial eggs.


The Verdict False

The avian flu outbreak in birds and factors such as inflation and supply disruption caused the recent egg shortage.

Claim ID fe214ee3


The U.S. has been facing an egg shortage for months, resulting in empty store shelves and a surge in egg prices. A number of posts on social media have been speculating about the cause of the shortage, with some sliding into conspiracy theories. One such post claimed that the recent egg shortage is caused by investments made by Bill Gates in a company producing artificial eggs. The post also linked Gates with widespread food shortages and the COVID-19 pandemic and asked why there is no investigation against him. However, the claim has no basis.

In Fact

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) — a disease infecting birds and poultry — is the main reason for supply shortages. It noted that lower inventories coincided with the holiday season during the latest outbreak. The USDA report said more than 43 million egg-laying hens have died because of the disease since the outbreak started in February 2022. The New York Times reported on January 12, 2023, that increasing fuel, feed, and packaging costs had exacerbated the situation.

The claim that Bill Gates is responsible for the egg shortage was linked to his investment in a company called Hampton Creek, now called Eat Just, which produces artificial lab-grown eggs. However, there is no evidence that his investment in the company caused the egg shortage. His investment in Hampton Creek, which he made in 2013, is not new and has been in place before the current egg shortage hit. Hampton Creek is one of his many investments in start-ups focused on developing artificial or plant-based alternatives to meat, such as Nature's Fynd, Memphis Meats, Beyond Meat, and Impossible Foods. Gates is also a supporter of chicken farming and believes it can alleviate poverty. A CNN report from 2016 mentions that he pledged to donate 100,000 chickens via the charity Heifer International to impoverished families in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Gates' ownership of agricultural lands has further fueled the controversy that he has been trying to control the food supply chain and, thereby, the world's population. However, as Vox reported, he owns less than one percent of the total farmland in the U.S. Further, a recent CNN news report said New Zealand, Japan, and many countries around the world have been experiencing egg shortages due to virus outbreaks in poultry and fallout from Russia's war with Ukraine.

PolitiFact and other independent fact-checking organizations have also debunked this claim.

The Verdict

There is no evidence that investments made by Bill Gates have triggered egg shortages in the U.S. Frequent bird flu outbreaks over the past year, combined with supply-side restrictions, are causing the egg shortage. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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