KFC affected, NSW farmers call for rapid antigen testing, supermarkets clear shelves

It was first supermarkets, now Australia’s favorite fast food chains are feeling the bite of Omicron.

Supply chain issues across the country have seen shoppers face empty shelves as transport, distribution and retail workers forced into self-isolation.

New rules in some jurisdictions will allow more people to return to work, but there are still a lot of issues in the chain.

Supply chain issues are inflicting shortages on KFC stores. (KFC)

And now KFC has confirmed they are feeling them too, with some items being taken off the menu for now.

“Unfortunately, our supply chain has been disrupted and some of our restaurants will be offering a reduced menu,” a spokesperson said.

“We’re sorry for the problems this is causing our customers – we’re doing everything we can to help our suppliers get back on track.”

Fast food giant McDonalds painted a somewhat rosier picture.

“Like many businesses, McDonald’s Australia carefully manages our supply chain, much of which is based right here in Australia,” a spokesperson said.

“We continue to work closely with our strong network of suppliers, farmers and long-term producers throughout the pandemic, to ensure that our customers can continue to enjoy our tasty food. “

Nine.com.au reached out to Hungry Jacks and Dominos to see how widespread the issue is.

Farmers demand priority for rapid antigen testing

As shoppers continue to face empty shelves in supermarkets across the country, farmers have confirmed that there is a lot of fresh food around – it’s just getting it to customers that’s the problem.

“Our growers send a lot of produce to Sydney markets, and we are working to make sure that farm businesses can continue to harvest these crops,” said James Jackson, president of the NSW Farmers Association.

“Unfortunately, we have seen businesses and individuals use the scarcity of tests and images of empty shelves as an opportunity to raise their prices, so we are asking the ACCC to closely monitor retailers to ensure that ‘they do not hit price increases above any price movement at the exit of the farm of fresh fruits and vegetables. “

There is a lot of fresh produce in the fields, but labor shortages hamper the ability of farmers to bring them to market. (New)

Mr Jackson also joined the chorus of voices calling for greater availability of rapid antigen tests, saying their lack contributes to broader supply chain problems, as well as agricultural production.

He said the tests would help farmers keep sick workers at home and healthy workers in the field.

“We have seen some positive announcements, but the fact remains that the fresh food we enjoy is grown on Australian farms, and if our farmers can’t get it out of their fields, they won’t make it to them. supermarket shelves, ”Jackson said.

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“What we need most is an accelerated supply of tests for farmers so they can continue to feed Australian families.

“We need the agricultural sector – including workers in the harvest and meat processing sectors, as well as those in transport and handling – to have priority access to rapid antigen testing during the last epidemic, lest we return to the stages of early 2020 when customers were stocking food items. “

Supermarkets say panic buying isn’t the problem

Photos emerged last week of bare shelves in major city supermarkets.

Coles has placed purchase limits on several products, with customers now limited to two packages each of chicken breasts and chicken thighs – or six pieces of the deli.

The two-pack limits also apply to mince and sausage, while customers are allowed to take a rapid antigen test each.

East Village Coles, Zetland
Supermarket shelves are rapidly emptying across the country due to labor shortages. (9News)

Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci highlighted the impact of the Omicron spread on the supply chain.

“Unlike the buying spree at the start of 2020 (which might forget toilet paper), this is due to the number of isolated people in our supply chain – from suppliers to truck drivers and team members in the distribution center – which in turn causes significant delays. to store deliveries, ”Mr. Banducci said.

“To give you an idea of ​​the scale of the challenge, we are experiencing COVID-related absences of more than 20% in our distribution centers and more than 10% in our stores. “

Aldi also said there had been additional pressure to secure supply to stores, but like Woolworths, he has yet to introduce purchasing limits.

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