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Global shipping crisis: McDonald’s runs out of hash browns and fries

Japan faced the same obstacle last month when they temporarily limited the sale of fries. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Japan faced the same obstacle last month when they temporarily limited the sale of fries. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 10, 2022

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CAPE TOWN - A growing global potato shortage that has forced McDonald’s in Japan and Taiwan to remove French fries and hash browns from their menus could soon hit the African market.

South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on Monday that Japan had suspended sales for its medium and large fries and was only allowing its customers to buy small-sized portions.

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The limit on fries was caused by a delay in potato imports from Canada, with the fast-food chain stating the restriction was expected to last for one month.

Japan faced the same obstacle last month when they temporarily limited the sale of fries.

In a statement by McDonald's Japan, CEO Tamotsu Hiiro apologised for the restrictions and admitted the delays occurred due to the “impact of the corona disaster” on the global distribution network as well as to flood damage, heavy snowfalls and bad weather.

“While it is difficult to procure raw materials in a stable manner, we have co-operated with importers and suppliers to proactively take alternative measures,” said Tamotsu.

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In Taiwan, some stores had reportedly run out of hash browns imported from the United States and were forced to suspend sales.

McDonald’s Taiwan said in a statement that “there is a shortage of hash browns in McDonald’s restaurants and sales will be temporarily suspended after they are sold out”.

The global shipping crisis has severely affected a number of sectors and businesses following various lockdown restrictions due to the pandemic, which was soon followed by an increase in consumer demand and a delay in production and manufacturing.

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According to the Washington Post, South Africa’s leading makers of potato chips had issued warnings of the short supply of potatoes while KFC locations in Kenya have also run out of chips.

However, the chain has offered its customers an opportunity to swap out the chips for other items on the menu.

“You love our chips a little too much, and we’ve run out. Sorry!” tweeted KFC.

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