An unexpected effect of the pandemic: the United States faces a shortage of meat

The U.S. stores are struggling to provide themselves with meat and are looking for new suppliers because the pandemic coronavirus reduces domestic output and raises the fear of lack. This writes Fox Business.

Неожиданный эффект пандемии: Соединенным Штатам грозит дефицит мяса

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Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 among the employees closed about a dozen us companies the packing of meat, including three plants Tyson Foods Inc. Other plants have slowed down production, as workers stay home for various reasons.

The leaders of the grocery retail stores, including Walmart, Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp., fear that supplies of some products may result, as demand grows.

“I have not seen such sales of beef long ago,” said Jeff Lyons, senior Vice President of fresh foods at Costco. According to him, the chain of stores is considering new suppliers to increase the supply of meat.

Tyson, the largest U.S. meat company by sales, Thursday, April 23, temporarily shut down meat processing plant in Washington state, and Wednesday, April 22, were closed two pork plant in the Midwest that produce millions of pounds of meat at these plants kill nearly 35 000 pigs per day. Smithfield Foods Inc., Cargill Inc., JBS USA Holdings Inc. and Hormel Foods Corp. over the last month, closed factories, which led to a significant reduction in total meat production in the United States.

In mid-April, beef production in the US fell by 24% compared to the previous month, pork — 20%, and poultry meat by 10%, estimated to CoBank.

Some orders for meat are received incomplete, as the suppliers refuse to change, and large factories remain closed, said heads of the grocery stores. The supply of ground beef is reduced, while wholesale prices are rising after a fall, which happened when the closed restaurants have reduced the demand for products.

The stocks of meat are likely to be reduced within two weeks due to recent closures of processing plants, and possible temporary shortages, said Pat Lafrida, Executive Director of one of the shops based in new Jersey. According to him, the company usually supplies Shake Shack Inc. and other restaurants, but now sells most of its products to the stores.

Distribution COVID-19, disease caused by a novel coronavirus, among workers in slaughterhouses in the USA has led to losses in the industry at $213 billion Meat companies transporting poultry and cattle for processing at other plants, and also attract welders for the installation of shields between workstations of the production line. According to farmers, farm some pigs are subjected to euthanasia because slaughterhouses were closed. In Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds sent 1,000 members of the National guard to help deliver tests COVID-19 meat plants.

“We had never seen such a reduction in the industry last month,” said will Sawyer, economist at CoBank, which explores the production of meat.

The company Costco Lyons is engaged in the supply of pork and chicken. According to him, these industries fewer opportunities for spikes in sales inherent in the supply chain, as animals bred in precise quantities to meet expected demand. According to Lyons, Costco meets the demand, he said, but is considering the possibility of working with new suppliers to fulfill orders, if necessary, it is expected that some plants of American suppliers will be stopped for about two weeks.

Walmart buys more products, are typically intended for restaurants, working to help convert factories to retail outlets, as well as to narrow the range of meat to focus on the best-selling products to simplify the supply chain, said a person familiar with the situation. According to this person, and Walmart also sales grow bags with vacuum seal, that is a sign that consumers are buying products that are going to save for a long time.

Todd Allen, Director of meat and seafood at grocery chain Raley’s in West Sacramento, California, said the company gets about 80% of the orders for poultry, while meat sales since March have increased by about 67%. Recently, the store has imposed restrictions on the purchase of chicken products and was able to keep more inventory in their warehouses to meet demand, but pays higher wholesale prices for some products.

“If we have to lose money to be competitive, we’ll do it,” he said.

Several closed factories reopened this week. The Cargill plant in Hazleton (PA), was closed on April 7 after the district has been the peak of the disease COVID-19. Earlier this week, around 60% of workers in the day shift returned to work and 70% for night and shift workers.