CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The president of Tyson Foods is warning there could be a meat shortage, and people will start to see the impacts in the grocery store. The major meat supplier has been forced to shut down processing plants to contain the spread of coronavirus.
That’s limited the amount of meat they can produce and supply to stores and restaurants.
In a full-page ad released in the New York Times Sunday, he warned: "the food supply chain is breaking." Closing a major processing plant could start a domino effect leading to a months-long meat shortage.
Charlotte-area restaurants are already feeling the impacts. The owner of Queen City Wings in Charlotte says he’s getting less of what he needs.
“My supplier that carries my wings doesn't have the wings I usually buy," Ronelle McIntyre said. "Now they're big. When they're big like that, you don't have as many and that cuts my profit in half."
Times are already tough because of the stay at home order, so McIntyre has made major changes. He is the only person working, and his days and hours vary. He's nervous a meat shortage could put him under.
“It’s Queen City Wings, so if they stop shipping wings and they stop supplying wings, that means I would go out of business,” he says.
Two major meat processing plants in North Carolina, Smithfield Foods and Sanderson Farms, have had employees test positive. But operations are still up and running.
The state has put guidance in place to ensure workers are safe.
“We’ve done a lot of testing on-site for these plants,” says Mandy Cohen with NCDHHS. “We’re making sure they’re supported because these businesses are so important to our food chain."
Farmers are also being impacted by the novel coronavirus. With plants, restaurants and hotels closed, they don't have anywhere to sell their livestock, much of it going to waste.