Meat processing plants have been shutting down across the country due to cases of Coronavirus. As we previously reported, from Smithfield, the major pork processors owned by a Chinese billionaire, to Tyson, a major chicken and beef processor, (among many other major suppliers) things are looking serious for America’s food supply chain .
The US Department of Agriculture is working to stabilize prices, as everything from produce to meat is expected to rise.
Other members of Congress own cattle, but only a few of us RAISE cattle.
I fix the fences, feed the hay, castrate bulls, fertilize fields, put tags in their ears, move them between pastures, wean calves.
FOOD SHORTAGES ARE COMING.
USDA needs to acknowledge and respond now.
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) April 26, 2020
“I’ll tell you why there will be shortages. Right now there aren’t shortages because there was a supply of meat that was destined for restaurants, and the demand at the restaurants was curtailed when they were shut down. It’s frozen meat, and [restaurants] are repackaging it and diverting that supply to the grocery stores…That supply is going to run out. The [meat] pipeline has a crimp in it, and that’s at the processing plants. A significant fraction of our country’s processing plants have shut down due to COVID.” Rep Thomas Massie (R-KY) to Breitbart News
The Associated Press reported,
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said late last week that it expects beef prices to climb 1 percent to 2 percent this year, poultry as much as 1.5 percent and pork between by from 2 percent and 3 percent.
The agency acknowledged that consumer buying patterns change weekly and that some products face supply-chain disruptions that could affect prices. But the USDA said its planned $3 billion purchase of fresh produce, dairy and meat should help stabilize prices. The government will work with food distributors to provide the purchased products to food banks, community and faith-based organizations and other nonprofits serving the needy.
The USDA last week reported 921 million pounds of chicken in storage and 467 million pounds of boneless beef, including hamburger, roasts and steaks. Before much of that meat could be sold at markets, it would need to be repackaged because restaurants buy in greater bulk than individuals. Some of the meat would need to be cut by grocery store meat cutters and packaged for customers to take home.
In late March, the USDA eased restrictions to allow for meat that had been intended for commercial food use to be diverted into the grocery store channels for consumers. The industry sought these changes in mid-March after brief meat shortages caused by the coronavirus panic sent people scurrying to grocery stores.
It’s not just in the US. Canada, and other nations are also struggling with a distrupted food supply chain. The US, Canada, and Brazil make roughly 65% of the world’s meat supply.
Another issue is that we don’t know where the meat is from. China as already infiltrated our food chain with frozen vegetable products under “organic” labels at Whole Foods. Always read the fine print- sometimes it’s down right scary. It should be mandatory that meat be labelled with the origin as well, which is the subject of this petition.
If you can find a freezer, buy it and stock it. The problem is that freezers are in high demand as well, so in some places they are on back order. There are still hundreds of meat processors in operation across the country. Panic isn’t the best option, as there are also many smaller processors that are also working to feed America. This is NOT a permanent situation, and it is NOT our “new normal.”
Featured photo: screenshot via Minnesota CBS local report on Pork processing issue