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Cape Town - If you have been unable 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 province battles the H5N8 strain, chicken products are ever harder to come by.

KFC is one of the hard hit retailers and their 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 (AI) on bird availability.

"The continued AI outbreaks across the country have intensified the pressure on our supply chain and we will continue to monitor the developments and ensure the impact is minimised."

Read: Western Cape losing fight against avian flu

Bird flu is likely to push egg price up by R3 a dozen

She said KFC continued to be concerned about the longer term impact the virus may have on national egg banks and the knock on impact on 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.

"Significant discussions are under way between key industry players and 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 anticipate ad-hoc constrained supply resulting in some restaurants being intermittently out of stock.”

She said KFC sourced their chicken from local suppliers, including Astral, who reported an avian flu outbreak earlier this year. The chicken producer lost around R50 million as a result of the outbreak on some of their farms.

Also read: Avian flu: 2.5 million chicks, ducks culled

Retailers have also been affected by the outbreak of the virus and the Shoprite/Checkers group said they predicted problems in the near future.

“Shoprite and Checkers stores currently receive adequate quantities of eggs and chickens to service consumer demand. We source from a variety of reputable national and local suppliers and remain in regular contact with them. For the foreseeable future however, retailers will not be able to place eggs on promotion in order to keep demand levels stable.”

Pick * Pay spokesperson Tamra Veley said they were concerned about the impact the outbreak had on local producers. “We are supportive of our loyal suppliers and urge government to give the industry all the support it needs.”

The Western Cape lost more than 2 million birds to the virus. The virus has since spread to other provinces, with Limpopo and the Northern Cape being the only provinces said to be unaffected.

Cape Argus