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Wendy’s removes burgers from some U.S. menus amid beef shortage — will this happen in Canada?

Meat processing plants struggle to meet demand for McDonald’s
WATCH: One of Canada's biggest fast-food chains says it will be sourcing some of its beef outside of Canada due to limited processing capacity.

Fast-food chains, from Wendy’s to McDonald’s, are feeling the pressure amid beef shortages linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. diners have discovered while ordering from some of their favourite fast-food chains that burgers have been completely removed from the menu at some locations.

READ MORE: McDonald’s Canada to start importing beef over supply concerns amid COVID-19

“Is there a beef shortage for Wendy’s?” one Twitter user asked. “Just had to change an entire order in the drive-thru. No beef available.”

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Another person tweeted, along with a screengrab of a sparse online menu: “@Wendys how are there no burgers?”

In a media statement to Global News, Wendy’s Canada said: “It is widely known that beef suppliers across North America are currently facing production challenges. We continue to supply hamburgers to all of our restaurants, with deliveries two or three times a week, which is consistent with normal delivery schedules.

Coronavirus outbreak: COVID-19 pandemic takes toll on U.S. meat producers
Coronavirus outbreak: COVID-19 pandemic takes toll on U.S. meat producers

“However, some of our menu items may be temporarily limited at some restaurants in this current environment,” it continued. “We’re working diligently to minimize the impact to our customers and restaurants, and continue to work with our supplier partners to monitor this closely.”

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About 18 per cent of Wendy’s locations are short on beef, according to Stephens analyst James Rutherford.

READ MORE: Cargill plant shutdown does not mean COVID-19 risk is contained, High River mayor says

The beef shortage is affecting other fast-food restaurants in Canada, too, like McDonald’s.

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McDonald’s cited the temporary closure of Cargill’s High River, Alta., facility and said it was working with the meat processor and other global suppliers to meet demand.

The plant closed temporarily on April 20 due to an outbreak of COVID-19 and reopened on Monday with additional health measures in place, like temperature checks, mandatory face masks and other protective equipment, enhanced sanitizing and increased physical distancing.

Coronavirus: What closures and restrictions on Canada’s 2 largest meat packing plants means for the cattle industry
Coronavirus: What closures and restrictions on Canada’s 2 largest meat packing plants means for the cattle industry

“Until Canada’s beef supply stabilizes, we will source as much Canadian beef as we can and then supplement with imported beef,” the company said, according to Reuters.

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The company also plans to temporarily remove Angus burgers from its Canadian menu nationally.

READ MORE: Cargill meat-packing plant in High River, Alta., reopens amid ongoing talks with union

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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— With files from Reuters

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca