Article by Cindy Mitchell
April 29, 2020
On Tuesday evening, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to protect America’s food supply chain from the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in China.
The executive order spotlighted how closing facilities in the national meat and poultry supply chain undercut critical infrastructure, noting that “any unnecessary closures can quickly have a large effect on the food supply chain.”
This comes after the administration had private conversations with executives of major meat-processing companies to formulate a plan on how to combat and preempt food shortages.
“It is important that processors of beef, pork, and poultry (“meat and poultry”) in the food supply chain continue operating and fulfilling orders to ensure a continued supply of protein for Americans,” the order stated. “However, outbreaks of COVID-19 among workers at some processing facilities have led to the reduction in some of those facilities’ production capacity. In addition, recent actions in some States have led to the complete closure of some large processing facilities.” These plants are to open as soon as possible and get production running.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said late last week that it expects beef prices to climb 1 percent to 2 percent this year, poultry as much as 1.5 percent and pork between by 2 percent and 3 percent.
Sarah Little, a spokeswoman for the North American Meat Institute, an industry trade group, said in the AP report, “It’s down across the board right now, so the next couple of weeks we should see how the system works. It’s never been tested like this before.”