Possible Meat Shortages Due to Plant Closures

Possible Meat Shortages Due to Plant Closures

Three of the United State’s largest pork processing plants, namely Tyson Foods, Smithfield, and JBS, were closed because employees their tested positive for the coronavirus.

The plant closures reduce the production of meat by 25% and may result in meat shortages in grocery stores.  In addition, farmers are impacted as they cannot sell their livestock to be processed, leading to a serious food waste issue that exacerbates disruptions to the meat supply chain.

Video Spotlight:

This post is based on the Eco Watch article, Tyson Foods Warns of Meat Shortage Following Coronavirus Slaughterhouse Closures, by Olivia Rosane, April 28, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Video Spotlight. Image source: John A. Rizzo/Digital Vision/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. How does the COVID-19 pandemic affect the meat supply chain?

Guidance: The pandemic affects  the downstream and upstream meat supply chain.  The production of meat is reduced by 25% because meat processing plants are closed as workers are sickened with the coronavirus.  The reduction in meat production causes a shortage of fresh meat downstream to meet customers’ demand at the grocery stores.  Upstream, farmers are not able to sell their livestock to be processed, causing a meat sourcing shortage.

2. What is Tyson Foods’ response to the imminent meat shortage?

Guidance:  Tyson Foods has warned customers of the fresh meat shortage resulting from the closure of its meat processing plants. At the same time, the company has detailed safety measures to protect workers when reopening its facilities.


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