American fast food restaurant chain KFC has temporarily closed all its branches in Lesotho after the country banned poultry products from neighboring South Africa, which is struggling with outbreaks of bird flu.
“Our supply chain has been severely impacted due to unexpected government regulations,” KFC Lesotho said in a statement.
Last week, the authorities in Lesotho suspended imports of all poultry products to curb the spread of the deadly bird flu.
KFC Lesotho says it gets its poultry from South African farms which are “tested independently and daily” to ensure they are free from the bird flu.
It hopes to re-open the branches soon after reaching a resolution with Lesotho’s authorities.
South Africa has been grappling with one of its worst bird flu outbreaks, forcing poultry farmers to kill seven million egg-laying hens.
The outbreak has also caused a huge shortage in the supply of eggs and chicken meat in the country.
The disease has now spread to Mozambique, where more than 45,000 hens have been slaughtered, burnt and buried in the southern Inhambane province.
Bird flu is an infectious disease of poultry and wild birds.