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Woolies, Pick n Pay ration eggs as bird flu wreaks havoc on poultry sector

| Supplier news

By Nick Wilson – News24

Woolworths and Pick n Pay are rationing eggs to customers in a bid to ensure regular supply as SA's worst ever avian influenza outbreak continues to gather momentum.

Woolworths said in response to questions on Tuesday that it had "implemented a limit on whole egg purchases in our stores to six eggs per customer" while it worked with its farmers to "ensure regular supply returns as soon as possible". 

This follows a News24 report at the weekend that detailed how retailers were scrambling to secure egg supplies as the outbreak of H5 and H7 strains of bird flu wreaked havoc in the poultry sector. Customers across Cape Town and Johannesburg, where the outbreaks have been especially bad, were noticing emptier egg shelves in supermarkets.

Woolworths said it was experiencing significant supply challenges "as was the case across the market", prompting the decision to limit the amount of eggs customers could purchase.

It said this was a "temporary measure", adding it appreciated the "patience and understanding our customers have shown during this time".

The group was rolling out signage about the rationing drive to all stores, including the group's online and Dash service.  

It continued to monitor the bird flu situation both locally and internationally, it said, adding it was following strict biosecurity protocols to "protect our hens as best as we can".

Pick n Pay said it was also asking customers to "shop responsibly", adding it would "limit purchases to one or two egg packs per customer, depending on the region". 

"We will continue to work closely with our suppliers to manage our stock so that we assist stores in areas where suppliers have been affected," it added. 

SA's largest retailer. Shoprite said it was not rationing eggs and had "no plans to do so at present".

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