business news in context, analysis with attitude

From Bloomberg:

"The clock is ticking for the U.S. to avoid a meat shortage as sick workers force more slaughterhouses to shut down.

"Tyson Foods Inc. on Wednesday said it was idling its largest pork plant, making it at least the sixth major U.S. meat facility to shutter in the last few weeks. Currently, about 15% of hog-slaughtering capacity is completely offline, and there are also additional slowdowns at pork, beef and poultry companies across the nation."

The result is that "meat prices are starting to surge … retail costs may rise as grocery stores mandate rationing on pork chops."

Shortages of product and increases in prices may be seen as soon as two weeks from now, Bloomberg writes.

"Much has been made of the frozen inventories that are kept in warehouses, which could help cushion the blow of plant closures — as long as they don’t last very long," the story says.  "While there are hundreds of millions of pounds of frozen meat in U.S. warehouses, the supplies account for only a fraction of what’s typically produced in any given month."

One irony is that farmers have plenty of product, but the closing down of processing plants means that they have no place to sell them - which means that animals may have to be euthanized and buried.

KC's View:

It amazes me that we as a country cannot come up with a fast and effective response to this problem … you'd think the fact that there are so many unemployed people who will be dealing with food insecurity would be enough of an impetus to creating innovative solutions.

Problem is, we're playing whack-a-mole … and not dealing with the fact that organizations like the United Nations are saying that famines of "biblical" proportions could double global hunger.  

We need first-rate intellects and innovators to fix these global and national problems, I think.