Media advisory: COVID-19’s effect on the meat supply

A supermarket meat counter

COLUMBUS, Ohio—The U.S. meat supply is on the minds of many, as some larger processing plants have slowed production. Others have temporarily closed, as workers have fallen ill with COVID-19. According to data compiled by USA Today and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, at least 4,400 workers have fallen ill across 80 plants in 26 states, causing 28 to close for at least one day.

Sensational headlines, meat company executives buying full-page ads warning that the U.S. meat supply could be at risk, farmers euthanizing animals, and a presidential executive order have confused consumers and stoked fears.

Two professors at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) are available to talk with media about what the industry is doing to maintain the supply chain, and how consumers can help the meat industry. Lyda G. Garcia, an assistant professor of meat science and a meat specialist with OSU Extension, notes that while overall total meat sales have declined, retail sales have remained strong and have even increased. OSU Extension is CFAES’ statewide outreach arm.

Both Garcia and C. Lynn Knipe, an associate professor and a meat specialist with OSU Extension, can be reached via email for interviews.

Sherrie R. Whaley
For more information, contact: 

Lyda G. Garcia
Assistant Professor of Meat Science
Meat Extension Specialist, Fresh Meat Processing
Meat Judging Coordinator
Department of Animal Sciences

C. Lynn Knipe
Associate Professor
Meat Extension Specialist, Meat Processing
Department of Animal Sciences
Department of Food Science and Technology