Coronavis and the Food Supply: News, Rumors, Spin, and Conspiracies

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The temporary closure of Smithfield Foods' Sioux Falls pork processing plant seem to have been the trigger for media interest in the potential disruption of the US food supply chain.

Since the food supply chain is vast and complex, the initial stories reflect that. There's a lot of room for misinformation and confusion, which will inevitably be exploited.

The Russian state-sponsored site RT shoehorned it into a story about CANNIBAL RATS:
https://www.rt.com/usa/485722-starving-rats-coronavirus-food-supply/
Massie is a Libertarian-style Republican, and some conspiracy theories pop up in his Twitter comments.
Source: https://twitter.com/EGA_Patriot/status/1249825854315782145


Here more from Sullivan's statement. I think you need to read this, at least partly, in the context of Sullivan strongly advocating for reopening because his primary concern is the company's bottom line. Not that he does not have other concerns about health and welfare, but this is his job.
https://www.smithfieldfoods.com/pre...oux-falls-sd-plant-indefinitely-amid-covid-19
CNN wrote an overview of some of the issues:
https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/14/politics/what-matters-april-13/index.html
I think we'll see much more about this over the next few weeks. Food uncertainty and insecurity is a primal fear, which makes it a great news story. This will likely lead to an increase in hoarding, with a subsequent vicious cycle of more stories about empty shelves, more fear, more hoarding.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Are they really equating a shortage of meat with a shortage of food?

Vegetarians exist, and producing less meat is actually better for the environment.
 

Rend

New Member
Are they really equating a shortage of meat with a shortage of food?

Vegetarians exist, and producing less meat is actually better for the environment.

TBF, vegetable based foods could easily be in as much trouble soon. I imagine plants for packaging vegetables have a similar setup to meat packaging plants.

I hate how the media reports about the shortages so people go out and panic buy. A vicious cycle.
 

Arugula

Member
Saw this video being posted of a texas cattle rancher complaining about the state officials telling him to kill and dispose of excess meat if he can't find someone to export to - this, as supermarkets in the US are facing meat shortages.

Source: https://youtu.be/T2ortQpF-5I


Clearly there is a breakdown in the supply chain that might not make sense to people without closer examination. I think the issue is with processing the meat. Meat packing plants are COVID hotspots because you can't really socially distance in that kind of environment. After the shutdown of the Smithfield Foods Plant in South Dakota, the CDC has a website up about meat and poultry processing guidelines because it is such a high risk job.



https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/201...eat-poultry-processing-workers-employers.html


Factory farming and food processing in general is probably going to be a lot less efficient then it usually is this year because of working conditions and worker health, not supply. Even in normal times we produce a surplus of food that never reaches store shelves, and this year it's going to be a lot bigger because of the virus.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
this, as supermarkets in the US are facing meat shortages.
you need to process it if you want it in the supermarket.
https://www.agriculture.com/news/livestock/as-meat-plants-slow-us-will-help-growers-kill-livestock
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
The super big problem is that if you are processing fresh meat to freeze it or to ship fresh refrigerated, that freezing or refrigeration would also conserve any virus that a worker might have deposited on the meat. You could buy your virus directly in the supermarket if they can't contain the outbreaks in the packing plants.
(This might actually be an application for UVC light disinfection.)

Canned food and boiled meat products such as luncheon meat or canned meat would be less affected, especially if it's packaged automatically.

I don't really like that the youtuber invokes patriotism in this. But maybe, just maybe people re-think what the industrialisation of this industry has done. If there'd still be smaller butchers locally, that farmer wouldn't have to worry.

Btw, what crops are they "plowing under coast to coast" in April??
 

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