SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – If you’ve been in a grocery store lately you may have asked: “Where’s the beef?” Or the chicken or pork? COVID-19 has caused shutdowns at meat processing plants and the effects are being felt at your neighborhood supermarket.
Coronavirus outbreaks at some Midwest processors have caused shutdowns and disruptions in the supply chain, according to Dave Davis of the Utah Food Industry Association.
“It involves the processing piece of it,” Davis told ABC4 News Tuesday. “We still have plenty of agriculture folks that are growing cattle. There is a little bit of a bottleneck at the processing level and the stores are still ready and willing and able to accept product.”
Costco’s website states: “Fresh meat purchases are temporarily limited to a total of three items per member among the beef, pork and poultry products.”
Smith’s issued a statement reading in part “…There is plenty of protein in the supply chain; however, some processors are experiencing challenges. At this time, we’ve added purchase limits only on fresh pork and chicken.” Signs posted at the Smith’s in Draper show that limit is two packages per customer.
Roger White, the Senior Vice President of Sales and Merchandising for Associated Food Stores which operates Macey’s, Dan’s, Dick’s Market, Lin’s and Fresh Market says they’re leaving limits up to the individual stores.
“It’s up to the independent retailer,” White said. “However there are several that are putting some limits on it just to make sure that there’s enough supply for the community and to make sure people aren’t buying up too much product and panic buying.”
Officials say the shortages are temporary and will only get worse if shoppers overbuy and hoard products like many did with toilet paper.
“Please be responsible in how you shop,” Davis said. “We can create a shortage by people hoarding, stockpiling products..and we want to avoid that consumer-created shortage of meat products.”
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