Costco Wholesale Corp. officials say there is not enough cage-free egg production for the company to have a cage-free purchasing policy.

A Costco executive said in the Portland Oregonian that the company had set a goal of offering eggs only from cage-free layers. But U.S. egg producers do not supply enough cage-free eggs to meet Costco’s needs, and the future is unpredictable, said Craig Jelinek, executive vice president and chief operating officer for merchandising, in explaining the 504-store chain’s difficulty in declaring a cage-free policy.

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Costco, headquartered in Issaquah, Wash., sells about 1.2 billion eggs a year, supplied by 17 to 20 producers, and is the largest membership club chain in the world based on sales volume.

Jelinek said in the article that the company is watching demand for its Kirkland Signature Organic Eggs. The eggs, from cage-free hens, are being sold in 189 stores. “We are getting more of a demand for organic items, healthier food items,” Jelinek said.