By Rebecca Sapakie
OAK BROOK, Ill. (MEDIA GENERAL) – At least two fast food chains are being forced to make changes due to a national shortage of eggs. McDonald’s is being forced to find new sources for eggs, while the southern chain, Whataburger, is cutting back on how long it serves breakfast.
Many U.S. egg producers have been affected by the recent outbreak of Avian Flu. Officials studying the worst bird flu outbreak in the U.S. say the virus has led to 40 million dead birds — mostly turkeys and egg-laying chickens — either from the disease or euthanized to prevent its spread.
With egg supplies dwindling, the price of eggs used in food products and shell eggs we eat for breakfast will climb higher. Carton egg prices reached a record in late May of $2.32 a dozen for Midwest large eggs, said Rick Brown, a senior vice president for Urner Barry, a commodity market analysis firm. That’s a 95 percent increase in a month.
Monday, McDonald’s said one of its suppliers has been directly impacted by Avian Flu. McDonald’s said the supplier had taken “appropriate biosecurity precautions.”
The home of the Egg McMuffin said it has developed other supply plans.
“We do not anticipate an impact to our ability to supply eggs to our restaurants and serve our customers,” McDonald’s USA said in a statement Monday.
Also starting Monday, all Whataburger restaurants will now only serve breakfast from 5-9 a.m. on weekdays, and 5-11 a.m. on weekends. Whataburger is located in 10 states.
“While our supply team continues to work diligently to source more eggs, we feel a limited period to serve our breakfast dishes is a better alternative to stop serving them altogether,” Whataburger communications released in a statement Monday.
Whataburger says it is working closely with suppliers to replenish its egg supply. It says it does not know how long its shortened hours will last.
Both McDonald’s and Whataburger stress this is a supply issue, and it does not impact the safety of the eggs served to customers.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.