Shoppers were warned they could face a shortage of organic turkeys this Christmas, following the culling of tens of thousands of the birds because of the bird flu outbreak in East Anglia.

Yesterday, supermarket chain Waitrose said it would have no organic turkeys to sell this Christmas, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The upmarket grocer planned to source its entire stock of 18,000 turkeys from two farms on the border of Norfolk and Suffolk, but these birds were all slaughtered when the premises became infected with avian flu.

Waitrose said it could not risk lowering its standards by switching to other suppliers for its organic turkeys and as a result was cancelling its 1,300 advance orders. Instead, Waitrose customers who placed orders will be offered a free-range bird and a£10 gift voucher.

However, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Somerfield said their supplies of turkeys were secure.