Bird Flu Outbreak Forces McDonald's Australia To Cut Breakfast Time

McDonald’s Australia has cut breakfast time in Australia by 90 minutes due to an egg shortage amid an outbreak of bird flu.

The decision follows after the highly pathogenic H7 influenza infected eight farms in Victoria,  two properties in New South Wales, and one in the Australian Capital Territory.

More than one million birds in the two states combined have been euthanised as part of the government’s response to bird flu, also known as avian influenza.

In a post on social media, McDonald’s explained breakfast would end at 10.30 a.m. instead of midday, due to egg supply issues.

“Like many retailers we are carefully managing supply of eggs due to the current industry challenges,” McDonald’s Australia posted to Instagram.

“To keep bringing you your breakie favourites with fresh Aussie eggs, we'll be temporarily serving breakfast until 10.30 a.m. across Australia (usually available until midday).”

McDonald’s said it is working hard with Aussie farmers and suppliers to return  to normal “as soon as possible.”

Egg Supply Disruptions

Recently, the federal government warned egg supplies in Australia have been disrupted and consumers should not buy more eggs than required.

“The national layer hen flock has been impacted by these outbreaks which is resulting in some localised disruption to egg supplies to the retail, hospitality and manufacturing sectors,” the government said.

They warned consumers could expect to see some empty shelves in the short-term, but supply was being redirected.

“Some retailers have already imposed purchasing limits which may extend across retail chains and jurisdictions, including rural and regional areas,” the federal government continued.

Supermarket giant Coles imposed egg purchase limits on Australian customers in June.

Where Has Bird Flu Been Detected?

In Victoria, the H7N3 strain was detected at seven poultry farms in the Golden Plains Shire near Meredith. A case of the H7N9 strain avian flu has also been discovered.

Meanwhile, in NSW, two outbreaks of H7N8 poultry have been found in the Hawkesbury district in northwest Sydney. This is a separate strain to Victoria.

Further, in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), H7N8 bird flu was detected at a poultry farm on June 27. This farm is linked to one of the NSW properties.

The first human case of bird flu in Australia was also reported in Victoria in May, in a child who acquired the H5N1 strain overseas in India.

The current strains of avian influenza in Australia do not appear to “transmit easily between humans,” the Australian government said.

The government also reassured Australians that eggs and chicken meat are still safe to eat if cooked properly.

“They do not pose a risk and are safe to consume. Victoria has a secure supply chain including the importation of eggs from interstate, so the current outbreak has not significantly affected supplies,” said Agriculture Victoria.

Bird flu is caused by a “variety of influenza type A viruses” that usually infect birds, according to Murdoch University Professor of Viral Immunology Cassandra Berry.

“The difference lies in the number of basic amino acids at the cleave site of haemagglutinin (HA), a spike protein on the virus surface, which is cleaved by cellular proteases,” she said.

“This cleavage determination then allows the virus to infect cells of different tissues and organs in the body. So if the virus HA is more easily cleaved by proteases, it will be more pathogenic.”

Over 1.2 Million Birds Culled

The NSW government announced 240,000 birds would be culled in June after bird flu was discovered in the state.

The state activated an “emergency biosecurity incident plan” in a bid to contain the virus after bird flu was detected at the poultry egg farm.

“We started depopulating the farm, in a humane manner, following Australian Veterinary guidelines. This process will take up to 5-7 days to depopulate 240,000 birds,” Agriculture Minister Tara Moriarty announced on June 20.

Later in the month, it was revealed a further 87,000 birds would be killed in NSW as part of a “depopulation process” after the second case in the state was found.

In ACT, birds have also been culled although the exact number is unclear at this stage.

More than one million birds had to be euthanised in south-western Victoria, according to Agriculture Minister Murray Watt in June.

Authored by Monica O'Shea via The Epoch Times,

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