Canadian Meat Industry Warns Of "Immediate And Drastic" Impact To Supply

We have been covering the impact of coronavirus on meat processing facilities in the U.S. and now it looks as though Canada is feeling the shockwaves as well. 

The country's supply chain could come under pressure as industry leaders in Canada have warned of "immediate and drastic" effects from the closures of key North American meat processing facilities, according to CTV

And in Canada, a number of facilities have been reduced, including one Cargill plant in Alberta where dozens of employees have tested positive for coronavirus. 

Michelle McMullen, communications manager at the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, said: "This single facility represents just over one-third of Canada’s total processing capability, so the impacts to the Canadian beef industry are expected to be immediate and drastic."

CCA president Bob Lowe said North American production has been "severely limited" and has called on the Canadian government to implement measures to help out Canadian farmers. “The Canadian beef industry is facing a period of extraordinary uncertainty,” he said.

He continued: “Existing programs do not address the particular threats we are facing and in fact fall quite short. These are challenging times for all Canadians; it is together that we can implement solutions to ensure healthy and affordable food continues to be readily available.”

Recall, just yesterday we wrote about the biggest pork producer in the U.S., Smithfield, who shuttered one of its largest factories after a coronavirus outbreak. 

Smithfield also issued a warning of its own, stating that meat supplies are "perilously close to the edge of shortfalls".

The company shut down its Sioux Falls, SD plant, which accounts for 4% to 5% of U.S. production. The news comes after more than 200 cases of Covid-19 were reported among employees. 

Photo: BBG

Smithfield’s Chief Executive Officer Ken Sullivan said: “The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply. It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running.”

Smithfield had planned on closing their plant for 3 days, but South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem asked them to extend the closure to 14 days.

You can watch CTV's report on the Canadian meat industry here: