The scoop John Tyson, Chairman of Tyson Foods, sent out a dire message about the global food chain supply breaking as millions of chickens, cattle and pigs face euthanasia due to widespread closures of slaughter houses.
Where it stands
- Meat processing plants across America face closure due to the pandemic.
- Processing plants use the ’just in time’ inventory system.
- Animals have limited processing time, after which they get too big and loses their monetary value for companies such as Tyson.
- It is difficult for meat processors to pivot between varying amounts of demand, exposing its shortcomings as a reliable form of food production.
What are the main concerns?
- Most meat processing plants operate in counties in America worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
- Thousands of animals and workers in these poorly-sanitised plants remain in close proximity to one other.
- The chances of infections spreading are incredibly high in the plants, with over 5,000 meat workers and 1,500 workers contracting the virus since April.
- Meat processing systems lack a vital aspect of sustainability: resilience.
Zoom out Farmers have discarded millions of pounds of edible food due to the virus and warn of increased food security concerns. Almost 30-40% of food is wasted in America, equivalent to an estimated value of $162 billion every year.
Bottom Line Our food systems need to focus on resilience plans moving forward, making them more adaptable and decentralised to effectively deal with external disturbances such as a pandemic.
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