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Costco Limiting How Much Meat You Can Buy As Food Shortage Looms

Serious concerns of a looming meat shortage are limiting what shoppers can buy.
raw meat at costco with membership card

Growing concern over a looming meat shortage is having real-world consequences as two major grocery chains are instituting a limit on the amount that customers can purchase. National retail giant Costco recently announced a quota on how much fresh meat each shopper can by and several Kroger supermarkets locations have instituted a similar policy.

The coronavirus outbreak has led to a rash of closing of meat processing plants across the nation, which elicited somewhat dire warnings from meatpacking companies. Early in April, Smithfield Foods closed down a pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota due to an outbreak of the coronavirus and warned of a looming meat shortage. Roughly a week ago, the CEO of Tyson Foods issued a similar warning that the food supply chain was breaking" in a full-page newspaper ad purchased in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Kroger owns and operates over 2,700 locations across the country, making it the largest grocer in the nation by locations. CNN reported that the chain would be "adding purchase limits on ground beef and fresh pork in some stores" through the grocery giant did not reveal how many of its locations would be curbing customer purchases of beef and pork.

Costco also explained their meat purchase limitations listed on its website dedicated to COVID-19 policies:

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Costco has implemented limits on certain items to help ensure more members are able to purchase merchandise they want and need. Our buyers and suppliers are working hard to provide essential, high demand merchandise as well as everyday favorites:

Fresh meat purchases are temporarily limited to a total of 3 items per member among the beef, pork and poultry products.

Concerns over a coronavirus-related food shortage are so significant that the Chair of the House Committee of Agriculture recently warned that we might be three weeks away from no more pork in our grocery stores. Rep. Collin Peterson said "We're about three weeks away from not having pork on the shelves in the grocery store. Maybe that will wake people up," he added "This is a bigger issue than just whether we're going to go hungry or not, it's a national security issue. The United States has got to have a food supply we can depend on for national security. If people don't have food, we're going to have riots."

This is why we will likely be seeing less beef, pork, and chicken in our local grocers' meat case and why the rationing of meat will likely extend to other grocery chains as well.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

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