Fast food chains are taking eggs off the menu

EggsGetty Images/Joe RaedleThe avian influenza outbreak is decimating the bird population and affecting the fast food industry.

The avian influenza that’s affecting millions of birds nationwide is also disrupting the fast-food industry. 

More than 48 million birds have been affected with the flu since December.

This outbreak is causing an egg shortage that’s forcing restaurants to modify their menus and improvise.

The latest chain to take a hit because of the increase in the egg prices is the popular Chinese fast casual chain Panda Express. 

The chain removed eggs from its fried rice and replaced them with corn in June, according to CBS San Francisco

The eatery was also forced to discontinue its hot and sour soup temporarily. It’s also looking like the eggs will not return to its menu anytime soon.

“We have been informed by suppliers that the egg shortage will last between 18 and 24 months. Egg prices have definitely increase [sic] for those who are able to purchase them,”a Panda Express spokesperson told CBS. “In our case, the number of suppliers from whom we can purchase liquid is extremely limited, which jeopardizes our ability to consistently purchase safe and reliable product.” 

Panda Express isn’t the first chain to turn to alternatives for eggs. Many restaurants simply can’t keep up with the high raise in prices.

“In June, producer prices for eggs for fresh use surged 71.7 per cent in price from May. Consumer prices are also jumping with one USDA report for daily New York eggs showing large Grade A and USDA Grade A egg prices at major chains rising to a range of $US1.99 to $US3.49 Friday from $US1.99 to $US2.79 to a year ago,” according to CNBC.

In early June, another company implemented changes. The San Antonio-based fast food chain Whataburger faced major backlash after it was forced to shorten its breakfast window due to the shortage. 

Around three weeks later, the restaurant announced it would resume normal breakfast hours. 

“We know it’s been a tough couple of weeks for our customers, but we’re really grateful for their support while we worked to build up our egg supply,” said Whataburger COO Dino Del Nano in a press release

Last week another popular chain, Rita’s, announced that it was temporarily replacing its frozen custard, which contains eggs, with soft serve ice cream. 

PostbyRita’s Italian Ice.

The company does not guarantee that its prices will not be affected as pricing is at individual franchisees discretion.

The switch has been met with mixed responses on Twitter.