LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Some stores and a nationwide fast-food chain are dealing with meat supply disruptions after several meatpacking plants were shut down recently amid outbreaks of COVID-19.
For more than 50 years, Wendy's has prided itself on fresh, never frozen, beef.
On Tuesday, the hamburger giant now says some menu items may be limited due to COVID-19 related meat processing problems.
The company says restaurants are still getting beef shipments two or three times per week by truck.
"When you look at the data, we have plenty of meats, we have more beef and more pigs than we've had at almost any time over the past half-decade," said Paul Enos with the Nevada Trucking Association.
Enos says there's plenty of livestock across the country.
In fact, Enos says data shows there is a glut of pork, beef, and poultry in the United States.
"I do think some of the panic has been overblown when I see some of these CEOs of these meatpacking plants," said Enos.
"Yes, there are issues with some of the places where they have infected folks, yes there absolutely are, but I also think we have created a situation that's resulted in panic buying," explained Enos.
Some meatpacking plants across the country shut down recently due to hundreds of COVID-19 cases that spread among workers.
In late April, President Trump issued an executive order requiring plants to stay open.
"We are working with Tyson, which is one of the big companies in that world, and we always work with the farmers," said President Trump on April 28 during a meeting in the Oval Office.
"There's plenty of supply, there's plenty of supply, it's distribution," said President Trump.
Experts tell the Associated Press that until the plants return to full operations, there will likely be higher meat prices and some shortages.
"I think this is a solvable issue and a lot of concerns out there should be allayed by what's going on," said Enos.
In the meantime, Kroger, which operates several grocery store chains, including Smith's, has limited meat purchases.
Costco is also limiting meat purchases to make sure there's enough product to go around.