Growing concern over meat supply

Posted at 8:35 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 10:02:03-04

There is growing concern about the meat supply in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meat processing plants across the country have been halting operations due to the spread of the virus.

The chairman of Tyson Foods recently warned that "millions of pounds of meat will disappear" from the national food supply chain after they had to close plants.

Smithfield Foods also temporarily closed plants.

Staples Street Meat Market owner Mike Meehan said they have not yet seen the impact of those closures.

“We process everything here at the store level. We have not experienced any shortage, or very very little shortages at all at the store level." he said, "Now, some of the prices on some of the lower items may increase on ground beef and chicken because of the demand on those items.“

Plant closures coupled with high demand will also drive up pork prices.

Some consumers say they aren't surprised by potential price changes.

“I mean it’s gonna happen. Places are shutting down and ripple effects are gonna happen but if people are smart about it, it won’t be as bad as people are claiming it’s gonna be.“ William Wright said.

Meanwhile, you may be able to find some good values on steak cuts that would usually be going to high end restaurants.

"It would sell for $50 a steak at an upscale restaurant and we're offering them for like $10.99." Meehan said.

In grocery stores, the more heavily processed items will be the most impacted by meat processing plant closures across the country.

“The grocery stores will be impacted tremendously on some of the prepacked stuff that comes from them like marinated pork tenderloins, marinated pork loins and further processed items." he said.

Meehan's advice is not to panic buy in the coming weeks.

"Everybody please be calm. Really look at what you really really need and get what you need. Maybe buy a little bit extra just to have -- but not go crazy and hoard stuff."