I was derelict in not noting the ads Tyson Foods bought in several newspapers Sunday to warn of a potential break in the food supply chain because of the closure of meat production facilities in the coronavirus outbreak.

The Arkansas-based giant hasn’t had to close Arkansas facilities yet, but it and other companies have closed facilities in several states. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said at a news conference today that producers here were good citizens and the state had good health guidelines in place and so he was confident Arkansas wouldn’t experience similar problems.

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But of course, we’re all in this together.

“As pork, beef and chicken plants are being forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain,” John Tyson, Tyson’s board chairman, wrote. Read it in full on the company’s website.

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From The Guardian:

The advertisement came as several Tyson plants have shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic.Tyson has closed or reduced production at several facilities throughout the US, including a pork-processing plant in Iowa, where several workers tested positive for the virus.

Tyson plants in Texas and Indiana had also closed. Other companies, including Smithfield Foods pork plant in South Dakota, and JBS beef plant in Wisconsin, have also announced temporary shutdowns.

Tyson also warned “farmers across the nation simply will not have anywhere to sell their livestock to be processed,” further sounding the alarm on the threat to the nation’s food supply chain.

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) had previously vowed to work with the FDA and the CDC, “ensuring the safety of the US food supply and protecting agricultural health”.

The USDA had been criticized for the millions of pounds of food rotting while the country’s food banks became increasingly depleted due to high demand amid the economic dive. Experts have warned it could be a matter of weeks before consumers feel the effect of shutdowns with meat shortages at grocery stores.

Might be time to dust off those vegetarian cookbooks.

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