Coronavirus impact: Bay Area doesn't see meat, poultry shortages despite national supply plant closings

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ByLaura Anthony KGO logo
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Bay Area doesn't see meat, poultry shortages despite national plant closings
Although national meat plants such as Tyson Foods have warned of shortages with the result of food chains breaking down during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bay Area supermarkets have yet to see any supply shortages.

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- The owner of Tyson Foods published an open letter to consumers in the New York Times, one that sent shudders through many, warning of meat and poultry shortages in America due to COVID-19 and describing a supply chain that is "broken."

However, unlike other parts of the country, the meat and poultry cases are still full at many grocery stores in the Bay Area and California as a whole.

Alameda's Encinal Market almost has too much product- even offering sale prices on some of it.

Many grocery markets like Encinal source their products in California, not from big companies in the Midwest and elsewhere that have had to close plants due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

RELATED: Why Americans may see a meat shortage during the coronavirus outbreak

"Haven't seen a shortage. Heard a lot about it, but we haven't been affected," said Jonathan Tse, Encinal's meat department manager. "We buy a lot of our stuff local, so a lot of California grown, Petaluma Poultry, Harris Ranch, so I don't believe they've been affected."

Angela's kitchen in Alameda has managed to stay open by offering evening take-out dinner specials, that include meat and poultry.

"Three course meal, so it comes with an entree, a side salad and a dessert for $10," explained Shirin Bina.

Bina said Angela's Kitchen did have to shop around a bit in the beginning for meat and poultry, but not lately.

RELATED: Coronavirus panic buying: Toilet paper, meat becoming hard to find at Bay Area stores

"The first few weeks were a little bit tough for getting the supply that we needed for meat," Bina explained, "but luckily next door we've been getting our meat from Marketplace and our menu also changes to reflect the availability that we have."

Industry officials say any spot shortages have more to do with distribution issues, not a lack of supply in California.

"All our plants are up and operating as productively has they've ever operated," explained Bill Mattos, President of the California Poultry Federation. "We're very concerned about the coronavirus. We have a lot of steps in place to protect employees so we can keep our plants open. And right now, your Bay Area is getting all the produce they need."

What could create a meat and poultry shortage in the Bay Area? Panic buying- like we saw with toilet paper.

RELATED: 'Stop Panic Shopping': Grocery item limit suggested to prevent hoarding in San Mateo Co. amid coronavirus pandemic

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