No meat shortages expected in Canada
This news article was originally posted on the University of Guelph's news page on April 20th, 2020 and can be found here.
Although several meat processing facilities in Canada and the U.S. have closed or are reducing production because of outbreaks of COVID-19 among staff, we do not expect meat shortages in the near future.
Mike Von Massow, curator of the Food Focus platform, provides further thoughts in the video below. He is available for interviews.
Recent closures and production slowdowns are unlikely to have a significant effect on meat availability in North American grocery stores. We have an abundance of packaging capacity in North America, which will buffer the closure of individual processing facilities or the reductions of production. Canada and the U.S. have a well-integrated meat processing system in which beef and cattle move both ways across the border. So if individual plants close, there is enough inventory in the system to buffer those closures. However, there will be effects borne by meat producers.
They will either have to scramble to find alternative processors and incur the costs of shipping their product further or choose to hold their animals — despite higher feed costs — until their usual plant reopens. Most of these packing plant closures tend to be short. But if more plants close and stay closed for long periods, we might start seeing more significant disruptions in the system. However, we don't anticipate any significant meat shortages at the meat counter in grocery stores in North America.
Recommended citation format: von Massow, M. "No meat shortages expected in Canada". Food Focus Guelph (84), Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Guelph, April 30th, 2020.