KALAMAZOO, MI – With concerns over possible shortages of meat following the shutdown of some meat packing plants across the United States during the coronavirus pandemic, some are planning ahead, including Greek-American Paul Petros, Midtown Fresh Director, CBS3 News WWMT West Michigan reported.
Petros told CBS3 that “he was doing what he can to keep his shelves stocked with meat,” and “he’s planning in case of a potential shortage in a couple weeks.”
“We're preparing if there's any shortage. We’re trying to buy-in now, for us it’s worth it because of the pricing. That's how we look at it,” Petros said, CBS3 reported.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which represents 1.3 million food and retail workers, told CBS3 that “20 food-processing and meatpacking union workers in the U.S. died of the virus,” and “an estimated 6,500 are sick or have been exposed while working near someone who tested positive.”
“There may be some short-term disruptions that folks are going to experience and probably have already but those are temporary in nature,” said George Quakenbush, executive director for the Michigan Beef Industry Commission, CBS3 reported.
The Allegan County Health Department told CBS3 that “86 employees at the JBS beef plant in Plainwell have tested positive for the virus.”
“Cattle slaughter nationwide is down 32% from a March high and 27% year-over-year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation,” CBS3 reported.
Consumers should also try not to “panic buy,” experts told CBS3 with Quakenbush pointing out, "As we have seen with other grocery items, panic buying can create shortages of beef and other protein products, which drives up prices and has the potential to limit availability and variety.”