Is There A Nationwide Turkey Shortage? Yes… And… No

Is a nationwide turkey shortage upon us?

Yes, says restaurant chain Sonny’s BBQ.

The company, which has over 100 locations across nine states in the southeast, told Consumer Press:

There is an outbreak of the Avian Flu that is affecting the supply of poultry in North America. More than 38 million chickens and turkeys have been killed by the outbreak.There is no danger to humans, but as a result, the supply of chicken and turkey has been dramatically affected.

Sonny’s BBQ is not alone in dealing with the shortage of poultry. The sourcing issue is affecting many restaurants around the country.

We are looking at all sourcing solutions, but ultimately Sonny’s BBQ expects that we will not be able to serve BBQ turkey in the first quarter of 2016.

At Sonny’s BBQ, taking care of our guests is our number one priority. We value the relationship we share with our guests and are committed to serving only the highest quality BBQ to our loyal guests for many years to come.

They’re not the only restaurant discontinuing Turkey entrees. Shortages have also been reported at Bono’s BBQ restaurants, Pete’s Grill in Baltimore, and others.

But the USDA says there’s no shortage.

David Harvey, an Agricultural Economist with the USDA, told Consumer Press last month that:

The amount of turkey held in cold storage is released every month.  The latest data I have is the total amount of stocks held in cold storage as of the end of November.  At the end of November, total cold storage of turkey products totaled 190.2 million pounds, which is 1 percent higher than the previous year.

So overall there is no shortage of turkey products, maybe these stores are referring to specific turkey products?

Our local Sonny’s manager, who preferred to remain unnamed, backed up that last sentence from the USDA. She said that plenty of turkey is available in stores, but it’s processed turkey. According to her, Sonny’s, along with many other restaurants, only uses unprocessed turkey, and that’s what is “short” at this time.

According to the World Heath Organization (WHO), processed meat is “meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation.”

Here’s some good news for Sonny’s fans jonesing for a turkey sandwich. Our local manager also said that Sonny’s corporate was in the process of negotiating a new deal and turkey may be back on the menu within the next few weeks.

Are you missed having turkey at your favorite restaurant?

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