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COVID-19 outbreak causing possible meat shortage across US

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — COVID-19 is sweeping meat processing plants across the country.

Outbreaks among their employees have been forcing major companies like Tyson Foods to either cut back or shutdown.

Because of this — the CEO of Tyson is sending out a warning to expect less pork, beef and chicken at the grocery store.

“That doesn’t seem to be on the horizon yet… but we have had some disruptions,” Daniel Summer said.

Those disruptions, says Daniel Sumner — a U.C. Davis agricultural economist — will not create a shortage of meat.

Even after the country’s largest meat producers including Tyson, along Smithfield and JBS have recently shuttered processing plants.

“You and I may see our favorite supermarket low on something but there will be plenty of meat –beef, pork and chicken that we all like there will be plenty of meat in the supermarkets,” Summer said.

Some Bay Area supermarkets have been seeing chunks of their meat sections thinning out –especially when it comes to bacon, sausage and ground beef.

Oakland butcher shop Marin Sun Farms has so far avoided any issues with meeting meat demand.

They advocate that sometimes smaller might be better.

“All of our meat comes from within 200 miles of this shop and our facilities are doing fine and our farms are doing fine and have all implemented measures for protecting themselves and their employees about this,” Zak Wardle said.

Wardle is not expecting the push for protein to hurt his business just yet… maybe another good reason to shop local throughout this pandemic.

“We’ve been doing just fine here,” Wardle said. “We’re feeling very lucky to be one of the few places that’s actually not getting a really big hit from all of this.”

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