Food Supply Chains Affected by Virus

But the food itself is safe

As with many businesses in the country, food production sites and grocery outlets have been hit with COVID-19 illnesses.

  1. A major pork processing plant is closing until further notice after hundreds of employees tested positive for the coronavirus.
  2. Two of America’s largest beef packing companies have announced plant closings due to COVID-19.
  3. A University of Missouri livestock economist says prolonged shutdowns are his biggest concern right now.
  4. This University of Arkansas professor explains how the virus has upended the global food system.
  5. A corn processing facility announced that several workers had come down with the virus, and fruits and vegetables grown in Florida—and other states—are going to waste because farmers can’t sell to restaurants, theme parks, or schools.

Food Is Safe

The CDC says that coronavirus is not passed on through food. Distribution systems are challenging, but recommended cleansing methods ensure that the products are safe. Grocery workers are on the front line, and many companies are installing precautionary standards–from plastic barriers to one-way aisle traffic. Restaurants are using curbside delivery, food pantries are providing grab-n-go meals, and many groups are helping those who are food insecure. From farm workers to truckers to checkout personnel, the key mission is to provide safe food for the public. Common sense, a community spirit, and an appreciation for farmers and food workers goes a long way during these challenging times.

Related Sites

The USDA and North Carolina State University are among the many sites providing helpful information about food safety.

The USDA will investigate why a sudden rise in beef prices due to coronavirus hoarding didn’t translate into higher cattle prices for farmers.  

A Kansas State University analyst said, “In highly volatile times, no one is going to stop eating, but we are learning a lot about how the supply chain works and how it can be disrupted.”

A direct pipeline to chefs that took decades to build has been cut off by the coronavirus, leaving small farmers and ranchers with food they can’t sell. For example, with the University of Kentucky dining halls closed, local farmers are struggling. 

Photo Credit: Collage from and; bottom photo from

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