McDonald's cuts breakfast hours in Australia in response to bird flu egg shortage

The early bird gets the Egg McMuffin, as the saying goes - with McDonald's across Australia now finishing breakfast 90 minutes earlier.

Breakfast will temporarily be served until 10.30am rather than midday as the company reckons with an egg shortage caused by bird flu.

"Like many retailers, we are carefully managing supply of eggs due to current industry challenges," McDonald's said on its Australia Facebook page, adding the company is "working hard with our Aussie farmers and suppliers to return this back to normal as soon as possible".

Bird flu outbreaks on 11 poultry farms have led to the slaughter of about 1.5 million chickens.

Less than 10% of Australia's egg-laying hens have been affected - but several supermarkets are limiting the number of eggs customers can buy.

Consumers can expect to "see some empty shelves in the short-term", with egg supplies being redirected to areas experiencing the greatest shortages, the Australian government said in its latest update.

It warned people against "purchasing more eggs than required".

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There has been some disruption to egg supply, 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.

Australia has been battling outbreaks of several strains of avian flu since May.

None of the strains in Australia 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.

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.