NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — It’s like something out of a breakfast-based horror movie: Millions of bagels are toasted and ready for eating, but screams erupt from the bakery as it’s discovered that there is no cream cheese.

Cream cheese seems like the most basic of dairy items, always on hand at the grocery store and certainly available on your bagel. But the capricious supply chain gremlins have now struck at the beating heart of breakfast, cutting off the supply of the life-giving white schmear that makes an everything bagel into a proper breakfast and leaving lox lonely and lovelorn, without its traditional partner.

“Morning in America” breakfast correspondent Paul Gerke did some boots-on-the-ground work in New York City Monday morning, touring bagel shops to see if the shortage was a manufactured media hysteria, or if in fact there is a cream cheese shortage. He reported that several shops admitted to having trouble getting their hands on a steady schmear supply, but that no one would go on camera to discuss the problem.

The problem is with the cream cheese “starter,” the base that the different bagel conglomerates then customize into their own unique blends that set them apart from others. One longtime shop owner told Gerke that he’s never seen starter this hard to come by.

The problem does not yet appear to be widely spread across the city yet, with only isolated pockets of dry bagels reported, but even a small localized shortage is enough to strike fear into the heart of even the most hardened Manhattan resident or Brooklynite. They might even have to resort to butter to moisten their morning munching, truly a fate worse than death for many.

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