Ohio grocers limit meat purchase quantities as coronavirus impacts food supply chain

Coronavirus

CHIBA, JAPAN – AUGUST 9: A customer looks at a U.S. beef product at a branch of U.S. owned supermarket Costco on August 9, 2006 in Chiba, Japan. The Japanese government lifted the ban on the import of U.S. beef on July 27, and the first shipment of cargo, which faced seperate inspections from both the Japanese Health Ministry and Agriculture Ministry, arrived on August 7. The ban had been in place since January 20, when inspectors found banned material in a shipment of veal from a U.S. supplier, just two months after lifting a previous two year import ban. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND (WJW) — Popular Ohio grocery chains have begun limiting purchase quantities on meat due to the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.

Giant Eagle is now limiting purchases of ground beef and on-sale meat items to a quantity of two per transaction, in effort to “ensure availability of popular items” for all guests.

Kroger is limiting purchase quantities on ground beef, chicken and fresh pork, our sister station WCMH reports.

The grocer says that while there is plenty of protein available in the supply chain, some processors are experiencing challenges that have resulted in the purchase limit decision.

Kroger released the following statement to WCMH:

At Kroger, we feel good about our ability to maintain a broad assortment of meat and seafood for our customers because we purchase protein from a diverse network of suppliers. There is plenty of protein in the supply chain; however, some processors are experiencing challenges.  At this time, in central Ohio we’ve added purchase limits on ground beef, chicken and fresh pork to support responsible shopping.

Walmart says their organization is currently working hard to meet the needs of consumers. They issued the following statement to FOX 8:

Meat continues to be in high demand as customers stock up on protein. As we would normally do during periods of high demand, we are working through our supply chain to continually replenish items as quickly as possible to help us meet the needs of our customers.

Meanwhile, Ty Higgins, media director for the Ohio Farm Bureau, explains that the coronavirus is impacting Ohio’s food supply system as a whole. He explained that the purchase limits will help eliminate hoarding situations while processing plants begin to resume normal-level operations.

Higgins released the following statement to FOX 8 regarding the situation:

COVID-19 has put a strain on our food supply system. Many beef, pork and poultry processing plants have recently been shut down temporarily or cut back their capacity due to coronavirus outbreaks among employees. This meant fewer amounts of meat being processed and that is why we are seeing grocery stores begin to put limits on meat products. We have reserves of all meats in cold storage and plants are now coming back online, but limits will help more people get the protein they need and eliminate hoarding situations like we saw with toilet paper and hand sanitizer a month ago until meat processing gets back to full capacity.

A spokesperson for Giant Eagle issued the following the statement on the issue:

In recent days, our supermarkets have experienced increased guest demand for products in our meat department. To discourage bulk purchasing and ensure that we have product available for as many guests as possible, we are temporarily limiting the number of ground beef and advertised meat products guests can purchase at once. In a single transaction, guests are able to purchase two packages of ground beef and up to two of each meat item advertised in our weekly circular.

It is important to note that these temporary purchase limits are not indicative of meat supply issues but are based on increased demand by some guests. We work with several suppliers to provide our guests with a wide variety of options, which helps us maintain consistent product availability.

Giant Eagle guests can continue to have confidence in the ongoing availability of meat and other essential items in our stores.

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