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These Items May Disappear from Grocery Stores Next

After meat, here's what may be in short supply soon.
produce aisle

After meat packing plants, fruit and vegetable packing plants are seeing an increase in coronavirus cases among their workers, reports Reuters. This may contribute to a new wave of food shortages in the United States, where instead of beef, fresh produce may be harder to come by.

Although workers on vegetable and fruit farms have ample opportunity to social distance from each other during harvests in the fields, the packing plants where workers are operating in very close proximity to each other pose the same risks as those in meat plants.

Carrots, tomatoes, and apples are in particular danger of becoming scarce or increasing in prices. A 53-year old worker at Grimmway Farms, the largest carrot producer in the world, died of COVID-19 in late April. The company based in Bakersfield, California, refused to reveal how many of its workers tested positive for the virus, but some employees noted it's impossible to keep a six-foot distance from each other as their employer advised.

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In California, agricultural workers in particular are getting infected at increasing rates. Monterey County, often referred to as the "world's salad bowl", has reported 247 new coronavirus cases among agricultural workers since June 5, which is 39% of the county's total case count. The number of cases is also rising in Florida's Collier County, home to several tomato growers.

The Trump administration noted last month they may extend the executive order to keep the food packing facilities open from meat plants to fruit and vegetable packagers, in order to prevent a disruption in the food supply chain.

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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Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more