Q. Will there be more limitations put on the amount of meat I can purchase?
A. Most limitations on meat products at grocery stores have been lifted. Some consumers may still not be able to purchase a specific product, but for the most part, the supply has been replenished and should continue to be stable for some time. Even with all the changes the processing plants have implemented, they are nearly back to full capacity. While we can’t predict the future, we don’t anticipate any meat limitations in the near future.
Q. Can COVID-19 be contracted through meat or food packaging?
A. Recently, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn released a joint statement to clarify any questions you may have surrounding the safety of meat or food packaging. The statement reported there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be contracted from food or food packaging. It’s important to remember the U.S. food safety system is the most comprehensive and highly regulated in the world. The statement issued is based on scientific evidence of how the COVID-19 virus is transmitted.
Q. What concerns are there about the new strain of swine flu?
A. A new strain of swine flu is being closely monitored by U.S. and international public health officials. Transmission is currently extremely limited. The flu is carried by pigs and has the potential to infect humans. However, there is no evidence that it can be passed from humans to humans.
Q. How are meat companies planning for a second round of COVID-19 in the fall/winter?
A. Through the pandemic and continuing today, meat processing companies are working with their employees to exercise safe practices at work and at home. This includes providing additional cleaning, sanitizing and protective equipment for employees. Like most businesses, processors are taking the learnings from the first round of the pandemic and making plans for any future issues that may arise, including an increase in illness. This includes ways to keep workers safe and healthy, quickly pivot the type of product manufactured while also continuing to provide meat for consumers to purchase at their preferred venue.
Q. Will farmers and ranchers be as impacted if the processing companies have to shut down again?
A. Farmers and ranchers have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like other industries, they have had to adapt and develop ways to manage this crisis. Farmers and ranchers are resilient business men and women who will implement what they have learned and put it to work when needed. Providing safe, healthy, wholesome food for the world is their goal and they will continue to find a way to accomplish that goal.