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HomeIllinois NewsHow COVID-19 Is Affecting the Nation’s Meat Supply

How COVID-19 Is Affecting the Nation’s Meat Supply




The U.S. isn’t facing food shortages, but there are big challenges for the supply chain amid the coronavirus pandemic. Daren Bakst writes:

According to both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. isn’t facing a food shortage.

Even though Americans might be seeing empty grocery shelves, that is generally a logistics and inventory problem, not a reflection of food shortages.

The coronavirus has drastically disrupted the food supply chain. In fact, rapid changes to the demand for certain foods resulted in surpluses, rather than shortages.

Major customers for food, such as restaurants, hotels, and schools, all of a sudden were no longer food customers (or their demand was significantly reduced). Prior to the coronavirus, 54 cents out of every $1 spent on food was spent away from home.

Those surpluses are why farmers have reportedly been dumping commodities such as milk and produce. Commodities that were supposed to go to those customers no longer had a destination.

As for the current concerns regarding the meat supply, there is an additional—and more pressing—problem due to disruptions in meat slaughtering and packing facilities.

[Daren Bakst, "How COVID-19 Is Affecting the Nation’s Meat Supply,” The Daily Signal, April 30]


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