Why McDonald's Is Rationing Its French Fries in Japan

Starting Wednesday, McDonald's customers can't order large French fries.

ByABC News
December 16, 2014, 1:27 PM
McDonald's large and small fries.
McDonald's large and small fries.

— -- Even McDonald's, the biggest burger chain in the world, can be a small fry when it comes to global shipping issues.

McDonald's restaurants in Japan will begin rationing their French fries beginning Wednesday, eliminating the menu option for large fries, due to a potato shortage, a spokeswoman for the fast food chain confirmed to ABC News.

A labor dispute is apparently delaying American potato shipments at American West Coast ports, thereby limiting supplies in Japan. Labor disputes have resulted in protests in ports in California and the Pacific Northwest over the past couple years.

A customer orders food at a McDonald's restaurant in Tokyo, July 25, 2014.

Becca Hary, McDonald's Corporation's director of global media relations, told ABC News in a statement, "Due to prolonged U.S. West Coast port labor negotiations which have resulted in challenges securing a stable supply of potatoes to McDonald’s Japan beginning Wednesday, December 17, 2014, only small size fries will be available in our restaurants in Japan. This will also apply to our set meals, and will include price reductions accordingly."

In this April 19, 2011 file image, McDonald's french fries sit under a heat lamp during a one-day hiring event at a McDonald's restaurant in San Francisco.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union said yesterday that it is waiting for the Pacific Maritime Association to respond to its comments on the latest offer from West Coast port employers.