McDonald’s shortens breakfast time in Australia as bird flu causes egg shortage

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Canberra, Australia — Good luck getting a late-morning McMuffin in Australia.

McDonald’s has cut breakfast service timings by 90 minutes, the company said, after a shortage of eggs caused by bird flu outbreaks that have led to the slaughter of about 1.5 million chickens.

“Like many retailers, we are carefully managing supply of eggs due to current industry challenges,” McDonald’s said on Facebook, adding that from Tuesday it would stop serving breakfast at 10:30 a.m. instead of the usual time of midday.

“We are working hard with our Aussie farmers and suppliers to return this back to normal as soon as possible,” the fast food company said.

Australia is battling outbreaks of several strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza that have struck 11 poultry facilities, most of them egg farms, in its southeast since May.

None of the strains are the H5N1 variant of bird flu that has spread through bird and mammal populations worldwide, infecting billions of animals and a small number of humans.

Fewer than 10% of Australia’s egg-laying hens have been affected and authorities say they are successfully containing the virus, but several retailers have set limits on the number of eggs customers may buy.

There has been some disruption to egg supply, with shelves in some stores emptying toward the end of the day, Rowan McMonnies, the managing director of industry body Australian Eggs, said last week.

“Consumers can be assured there’s still over 20 million hens under the care of hundreds of egg farmers across Australia that will continue to work hard to ensure there’s eggs on shelves,” he added.

Bird flu spreads to farmed animals from wild birds. The 2024 infections are Australia’s 10th outbreak since 1976, each contained and eradicated, the government has said.

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