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Closures associated with the COVID-19 outbreak may be leading to something unexpected in the United States. According to the CEO of a pork processing company, the US may be facing a meat shortage.

Kenneth Sullivan is the CEO of Smithfield Foods. According to a statement released by Sullivan, the company’s facility in Subic Falls, SD will be closed indefinitely. According to a report in USA Today, 238 cases of coronavirus were linked to that processing plant.

Sullivan reports that this closure is only one of many that may put the United States in danger of a major meat shortage. It can also affect the livelihood of farmers. Up to 5% of the production of US pork takes place at their plant in South Dakota according to the statement.

“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,” he said.

Photo: Pixabay/secomp

NPR reports that it is just one of the plants that have closed in recent weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak. Many people are now concerned that meat may be difficult to find at the grocery store.

“It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running. These facility closures will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain, first and foremost our nation’s livestock farmers. These farmers have nowhere to send their animals,” Sullivan said.

If your local grocery stores do run out of meat, there are other places you can look such as local farms, rancher coalitions, restaurant suppliers, and direct-to-consumer meat websites (like Butcher Box).