Since meat processing plants have shut down across the country, production has come to a halt.
The pandemic is proving to be an issue to not only humans, but also livestock as the supply chain for meat is stopping in its tracks. According to Food Dive, “Meat supplies for grocery stores could drop 30% by Memorial Day, resulting in pork and beef price increases as high as 20% compared to last year.”
Since thousands who work at meat processing plants tested positive for coronavirus, big name companies like Tyson Foods, JBS USA and more have closed their plants amidst pressure from authorities to help flatten the curve.
Tyson Foods took out a full page ad in The New York Times to explain that the food supply chain is breaking because of the pandemic. For Tyson and other meat processing plants, the infrastructure is being pulled at its seams.
President Trump signed an executive order to designate meat processing plants as essential businesses to help ease supply concerns, but the other concern could be reinfecting or spreading the virus to potential citizens. What some meat processing plants are planning to do to help its workers are putting barriers and testing in facilities. However, it is unclear whether these plants can recruit so quickly given the situation in the U.S.
The closings have hurt everyone in the chain. Farmers have euthanized their chicken and pigs because there is no one to purchase them. As a result, there are predictions that there will be major meat shortages later in the year. This is clear from reports that Wendy’s is not serving hamburgers in some of their restaurants, while other places like McDonald’s bracing for food changes.
Tyson executives reported U.S. meat supply could increase in the third and fourth quarters of 2020.