Meat processing plants are closing due to coronavirus outbreaks, potentially leading to beef shortfalls

At a better time, before the COVID-19 pandemic, plants across America were processing at least 660,000 beef cattle. The number this week has reduced by 25% with around 500,000, as reported by the program sales manager for JBS, John Bormann. 

The slowdown is being attributed to a number of reasons, from plants being forced to shut down to employees following social distancing and self-quarantine. Processing of meat has become difficult due to a lack of workers. Demand has also reduced due to almost all of the restaurants being closed. 

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JBS USA shut down two of their facilities in Pennsylvania and Colorado after some of their employees tested positive for the Coronavirus. 

Several other beef and pork processing plants stopped their operations. Cargill, a big-shot beef packing facility in Canada has reduced production as they found a number of their employees infected with COVID-19

As the production slows down, concerns about a shortage of products loom large. Senior animal protein analyst from Rabo AgriFinance, Don Close, explains that as companies incur losses within the country, they might look to foreign markets for profits. 

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