Fears of meat shortages during pandemic grow

“I’d say don’t panic, the supply is going to be there.” Jeff Perez reassuring customers of his small Highland Park Butcher Shop, Chops. He’s been working to keep his business afloat during the pandemic as fears of meat shortages grow.

“So we’re definitely feeling a little bit of shortage right now absolutely across the board,” said Perez.

Those shortages are driven by some of the major food suppliers. Over the weekend, an ominous warning from Tyson Foods. Executives took out a full-page ad in the Washington Post and other publications saying the food chain is breaking.

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Tyson has closed several chicken processing plants over safety concerns and a COVID-19 outbreak. Similar shutdowns also happening at major pork processing plants. Experts said it will mean less supply on grocery store shelves as early as this week.

University of California Economics Professor Nick Vyas explains why.

“So when you have COVID-19 disrupting that front line workforce you are now talking about disrupting the food supply chain,” Vyas said.

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He also said food companies will likely have to completely overhaul their plants before things can return to normal and fears shortages will go beyond meat products.

“Anywhere you have a human... label, processing packaging a supply chain you’re exposed to this issue,” said Vyas.

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Meanwhile back at Chops, Perez says he’s a small shop that works mainly with local organic farms and so far, hasn’t been heavily impacted.

“It’s not really necessary to hoard meat we’re gonna keep it available for as long as possible,” said Perez.

Experts also believe shortages could cause an increase in prices.

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