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Prices could increase as coronavirus closes meat processing plants

(WDBJ)
Published: Apr. 13, 2020 at 6:14 PM EDT
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closures are impacting the meat supply chain in the United States, and experts say shoppers could be the ones paying the price at the grocery store.

The virus’s latest victim was a Smithfield Foods meat-processing facility in South Dakota.

The CEO of the Virginia-based company said closures like that one will have severe repercussions.

“I think the situation could potentially be similar to the shortage with toilet paper products,” Virginia Tech Agriculture and Applied Economics Professor Olga Isengildina Massa said.

Isengildina Massa said closures like the one at Smithfield Foods could impact your wallet.

“I think we are more likely to see increases in prices if these interruptions continue,” she said.

Just last year, a fire at a Tyson Foods beef-processing facility in Kansas caused a similar disruption in the supply chain. That experience gives insight into the impacts of the coronavirus closures, Isengildina Massa said.

“So as a result of that we saw prices of boxed beef go up and the prices of live cattle go down,” she said.

The coronavirus closures should not cause empty shelves, but panic could.

“I think hoarding products is going to make the situation more difficult than it needs to be,” Isengildina Massa said.

She is encouraging everyone to stay calm, work together and be flexible while shopping as the coronavirus creates more changes to daily life.

“If the store runs out of ground beef, buy a different cut, make your dinner. We are facing so many different challenges right now, we have to be flexible in everything we do,” Isengildina Massa said.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ7. All rights reserved.

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