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Butterball Turkeys in Short Supply for Thanksgiving

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FOX News--The nation's largest producer of turkeys is warning of a shortage of birds, just in time for Thanksgiving.


Butterball announced that it will be shipping out half as many large, fresh never-frozen turkeys to retailers this year. The company says many of its birds had trouble gaining weight during the production process.  And though the cause of the problem remains a mystery, food distributors say their orders for turkeys 16 pounds and bigger have been slashed in half. Sixteen pounds is the national average for Thanksgiving holiday turkeys making this shortage a particularly concerning problem.  


Butterball released the following statement Thursday:


Butterball and its retail partners have ample supply of frozen whole turkeys of all sizes small, medium or large. While there may be limited availability on some larger sizes of fresh turkeys, Butterball has shipped 100 percent of customer orders of frozen whole turkeys and products are in distribution across the country. We experienced a decline in weight gains on some of our farms causing a limited availability of large, fresh turkeys. While we are continuing to evaluate all potential causes, we are working to remedy the issue. We sincerely regret the inconvenience that some of our customers have experienced as a result of this issue.


If consumers cannot find a Butterball fresh whole turkey in their desired size, they can purchase a Butterball frozen whole turkey for their Thanksgiving meal. Depending on the size of their turkey, it typically takes between three to five days to thaw; we suggest thawing in a refrigerator for four hours per every pound of turkey.


Chefs can consider smaller birds or even opt for the frozen varieties, which have not been affected by the bird's lack of weight gain. Other brands like Cargill or Farbest Foods have not been affected by the problem so turkey lovers can rest assured their holiday will go on.


Butterball produces approximately 41 million turkeys each year, accounting  for 16 percent of the entire U.S. market. On Thanksgiving,  nearly 1 out of every 4 turkeys consumed is a Butterball bird.


Butterball expects production of its large turkeys to be back to normal by the Christmas holiday.
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