- Associated Press - Monday, June 1, 2015

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) - Whataburger says it is limiting its breakfast-serving hours, citing egg shortages due to the Midwest bird flu crisis.

The fast-food chain will serve breakfast 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. weekdays, and 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. on weekends. It previously was available 12 hours a day. Whataburger says in a statement that the changes will allow it to supply all of its locations.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says confirmed outbreaks in the Midwest have cost chicken and turkey producers more than 44 million birds. Egg prices have soared.

Major chains such as Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Donuts and IHOP say they’re monitoring the situation but haven’t yet been affected.

Bob Krouse, CEO of Midwest Poultry Services, said if a company relies on a supplier that’s affected by avian flu, it might have trouble finding another one.

“There aren’t any to be had,” Krouse said. “If you lost your supplier, nobody’s taking on a new customer.”

In a written statement, Whataburger said it didn’t know why other restaurants haven’t been affected but that it’s “primary egg supplier was one of the hardest hit by this shortage.”

Some relief from the egg shortage could soon be on its way from the Netherlands. The USDA said Monday it will allow Dutch companies to resume exports of pasteurized egg products to the U.S. after a hiatus of several years. The Grocery Manufacturers Association last week urged quick approval as a first step toward relieving the shortage.

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