These Items May Disappear from Grocery Stores Next
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.
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.