Canadian fast food lovers hoping to score an Angus burger the next time they drive through McDonald's will be out of luck. On Tuesday, the fast food chain announced that it would temporarily be removing Angus burgers from its McDonald's Canada menus immediately. The move comes as McDonald’s Corp’s Canadian restaurants face a beef supply shortage amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"At McDonald's Canada, we are proud of our long-standing commitment to serve 100 per cent Canadian beef and plan to continue our Canadian beef sourcing long-term. However, due to unprecedented COVID-19 impacts on the Canadian beef supply chain, we are temporarily adjusting our supply to incorporate beef from outside Canada – from pre-approved McDonald's suppliers and facilities globally – in order to meet the current demand, effective immediately," the company announced in a press release. "Until Canada's beef supply stabilizes, we will source as much Canadian beef as we can and then supplement with imported beef. Tapping into the strength of our global supply chain will allow McDonald's Canada to continue to serve our communities, without interruption."
In the memo, the company noted that customers may still be able to order Angus burgers as restaurants "continue to sell through product." Citing the temporary closure of Cargill's High River, Alberta facility, it added that "working closely with Cargill and other McDonald's suppliers globally to meet our current demand for beef," though it promised to return to sourcing 100 percent Canadian beef as soon as possible.
The beef shortage comes as the U.S. meat industry warns of a break in the food supply chain. With a number of meat processing plants being forced to temporarily close due to the outbreak, Tyson Foods board chairman John Tyson said that "millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain" and that as a result, "there will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores." In a stark warning, he wrote that "the food supply chain is breaking."
Those words were earlier echoed by Smithfield Foods, who warned as they temporarily closed their Sioux Falls, South Dakota plant that closures are "pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply." A statement cautioned that the closures will make it "impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked" and "will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain. In response to the shutdowns, Fox Business reported that President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that he will sign an executive order to keep meat plants operating under the Defense Production Act.