The Star Early Edition
Avian flu clips KFC’s wings
IF YOU haven’t been able to get your Zinger or Dunked Wing fix from some KFC stores, the outbreak of the H5N8 strain of the bird flu virus is to blame.
As the Western Cape and many other areas still battle with the H5N8 strain, some chicken products are becoming harder to come by.
KFC is one of the hard hit retailers, and its popular Zinger and Dunked Wings have been temporarily out of stock at a number of outlets.
KFC Africa spokesperson Thanisa Mkhwanasi said the wing shortages in some areas were a direct result of the outbreak of avian influenza.
“KFC South Africa can confirm that KFC restaurants, together with the broader industry, are experiencing a shortage of wings in some areas due to the impact of the outbreak of avian influenza on bird availability.
“The continued outbreaks across the country have intensified the pressure on our supply chain, and we will continue to monitor the developments and ensure that the impact is minimised.”
She added that they were concerned about the longerterm impact the virus may have on national egg banks and the knock-on impact to broiler availability.
“We want to reassure our customers that we are working tirelessly with our suppliers to bring supply levels back to normal to meet demand as far as possible.
“Discussions are under way between key industry players and the government on how best to manage the situation moving forward, and KFC is committed to continuing to engage and participate in these efforts.
“In the interim, however, we unfortunately expect constrained supply, resulting in some restaurants being intermittently out of stock.”
Mkhwanasi noted that KFC sourced its chicken from local suppliers, including Astral, who reported an avian flu outbreak earlier this year. The chicken producer had lost around R50 million as a result of the outbreak on some of its farms.
Retailers have also been affected by the outbreak of the virus, and the Shoprite/ Checkers group said it predicted problems in the near future.
Johannesburg City Parks spokesperson Jenny Moodley said they were continuing to closely monitor the outbreak of avian influenza in the city and had found that since October, the number of dead carcasses recovered on a day-to-day basis had decreased and was confined to the Westdene Dam area.
“City Parks has reinforced that the strain is not contagious to humans… We have also requested that residents refrain from coming into direct contact with the carcass and to incinerate the remains where possible.”
The Western Cape has lost more than 2 million birds to the virus. It has since spread to other provinces, with Limpopo and the Northern Cape being the only two provinces said to be unaffected. – Additional reporting by Nokuthula Zwane