LOS ANGELES — Near downtown Los Angeles, a meat processing plant ramped up production even as it worked to keep frontline employees separated from one another. In Salinas, Calif., a lettuce grower hustled to redirect supply after being forced to plow under unused crops.
In the Bay Area, a food distributor that previously served restaurants started selling produce boxes directly to consumers. Near the Mexico border, a food bank expanded distribution to meet an explosion of need. And in Hollywood, a nonprofit that has served sit-down meals to homeless people for 33 years shifted to takeout.
“We’ve completely had to change what we’re doing,” said Sherry Bonanno, executive director of the Hollywood Food Coalition. “We just keep adapting and adjusting.”
America faces a previously unthinkable conundrum: a surfeit of animals on farms but shortages of meat products available to consumers.
Incredible as it may seem, the threat of a toilet paper shortage replay – this time in the meat section of grocery stores – has become a reality for some Americans. The complex and incredibly efficient supply chains that transfer food from farms onto our plates are stressed, and some links have started to break from the strain.
Some people contend that our nation’s food supply chain is starting to break. While news photos depict farmers plowing under crops that they either don’t have the means to harvest, or no markets to ship them to, area food banks say they cannot get enough food to continue operations.
John Tyson, chairman of the board at Tyson Foods Inc., warned about the impending crisis in a full-page advertisement published April 26 in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in which he warned, “The food supply chain is breaking.”