Why Might COVID-19 Cause a Meat Shortage?

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There is growing concern that America's meat supply could be in jeopardy by the end of the week due to COVID-19 outbreaks cropping up in processing plants across the country. At least 22 food processing plants in the U.S. are closed due to the pandemic. Five thousand workers have been infected or exposed to COVID-19.

And a stark warning from John Tyson, the chairman of the second largest meat supplier in America: "The food supply chain is breaking." 

A recent full page ad taken out by Tyson declares that "Millions of animals — chickens, pigs and cattle — will be depopulated because of the closure of our processing facilities."

Some supermarkets across the country are already showing empty shelves in the meat department, much like panic over toilet paper in the early days of the crisis. And even those still fully stocked are expected to see their supplies dwindle in the coming days.

In response to the looming threat, President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order designating meat production plants "critical infrastructure" and requiring them to stay open. 

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