At least 10 different meatpacking facilities have reportedly shuttered in recent days due to alleged Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks, which threatens to create meat shortages at America's supermarkets and butcher shops.
One of the latest conglomerates to announce production plant shutdowns is Jennie-O Turkey Store, Inc., owned by Hormel Foods Corporation, which indicated that it "will temporarily pause operations at its Willmar Avenue and its Benson Avenue facilities, both located in Willmar, Minn."
The company stated that there has been a supposed rise in the community spread of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the area, and that the most prudent response was to shut down its meatpacking plants as a preemptive measure.
"Based on information about the community spread of COVID-19 in the area, the company decided it was the right decision to pause operations to undergo a facility-wide cleaning that will enhance already robust safety and sanitization protocols," the announcement further states.
"Under its pay program, all Jennie-O Turkey Store employees will continue to receive 100 percent of their base pay and benefits during the pause in production. Jennie-O Turkey Store is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hormel Foods Corporation."
Even though mass food shortages could result, leaving potentially millions of families with nothing to put on the dinner table, Jennie-O Turkey Store head Steve Lykken told the media that it still makes more sense to halt production until the invisible enemy is no longer a threat.
"The health, well-being and safety of our team members is our top priority," Lykken is quoted as saying. "Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to take a pause in operations."
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Hormel and Jennie-O are just the latest in a long line of meatpacking plants that have similarly shut down in recent weeks, including another Hormel location in Rochelle, Illinois. This is why Zero Hedge has described the situation in terms of dominos falling, and warned that food shortages could arrive as soon as May.
Pork shortages, the media outlet warns, will likely start hitting households during the first week of May, as major hog processors like Tyson Foods Inc. also shutter their facilities in response to the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).
Beef shortages are also expected as a major cattle processing facility in Pasco, Washington, likewise shut down its operations due to alleged cases of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).
"We're working with local health officials to bring the plant back to full operation as soon as we believe it to be safe," stated Tyson Fresh Meats head Steve Stouffer about his company's plant closures."
"Unfortunately, the closure will mean reduced food supplies and presents problems to farmers who have no place to take their livestock. It's a complicated situation across the supply chain."
There have thus far been at least 10 meat processing plants shut down as of this writing, all because of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). And many of them have not yet indicated when they might reopen, which could pose supply problems at grocery stores in the coming days and weeks.
"What is wrong with this picture?" asks one Zero Hedge commenter. "80-85% have no or mild symptoms – very, very few of the remainder actually die. So, starve everyone instead?"
To keep up with the latest news about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), be sure to check out Pandemic.news.
Sources for this article include: