- Empty shelves are being reported in several US stores.
- The increase in Covid-19 cases due to the Omicron variant is again complicating food production in the country.
- The shortage of products makes citizens fear the worst.
Empty shelves are being reported in various supply stores in the US. The shortage of products is making citizens fear the worst. Apparently, the increase in Covid-19 cases due to the Omicron variant is again complicating food production in the country.
Meat and egg producers in U.S. have started the year facing some difficulties with keeping their plants operational. They are especially having trouble maintaining an active workforce in the face of the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Empty shelves reported in US stores and the worst is feared
The problem is that if too many workers get sick, the company’s productivity declines and food chains are disrupted. According to the Los Angeles Times, the arrival of the Omicron variant has created staff shortages at farms, manufacturers and distributors.
The empty shelves that United States supermarkets have been reporting are the serious consequence of large numbers of people getting sick at once. This is causing fear among consumers who worry there will be major shortages, especially when it comes to essential products such as meat and eggs.
Supermarkets running out of meat and eggs
Farms are also facing serious problems with their personnel. Campbell Soup and Egg Innovations, one of the largest producers of free-range eggs in the United States, indicated that difficulties with their workers have persisted for about a year.
This company has stated that it has been difficult to keep its workers on the job. This is despite implementing an «aggressive» hiring campaign. This is partly because they cannot force employees to get vaccinated. The spread of the Omicron variant is only making the situation worse.
Food distribution failures
SpartanNash Co., which is a food distribution company that also has retail stores, has said that cases of illness among its staff have tripled. Also, many workers are not performing at their best because they are exhausted from picking up the slack. As a result, delays are an everyday occurrence.
Understaffing is occurring, not only in food-production facilities, but also in the distribution chain. Omicron is wreaking havoc. «The Delta variant didn’t have much of an impact on the workforce, but Omicron is getting us,» said Paula Soldner, president of the Joint National Council of Local Food Inspections.
The problem of empty shelves will grow
For his part, Bindiya Vakil, CEO of supply chain consultancy Resilinc Corp., said that, «the labor shortage due to Omicron is only going to exacerbate the problem.» This is precisely what consumers are starting to notice when they go to the supermarket and find the empty shelves.
But since the Omicron variant does not discriminate and infects all sectors equally, this situation where there is a lack of workers is also beginning show up in schools and nurseries. In fact, more people have started working from home again. Is this a sign of backsliding?
Biden Administration Vs. Omicron
Just this December, US President Joe Biden announced that they would add about 10,000 sites for people to get tested for Covid-19 to the 80,000 that already operate. They aim to find a way to control the disease, especially now that the more contagious Omicron variant is spreading through the country.
These sites will be located in the most affected areas, reported La opinion. The Biden administration also reported that they would send out 500 million home rapid tests. These are the same tests that were so scarce during the holidays.
Producers in trouble
This is not the first time that stores have faced product shortages and delays. In 2020, some coronavirus outbreaks affected factory production, particularly meat. They even forced some companies to close temporarily.
According to figures from the US Department of Agriculture, in the few days since 2022 started, meat companies have seen their production drop and the amount of pork and cattle slaughtered has been reduced by 6%. As if that were not enough, it is also difficult for them to find food inspectors who can go to their facilities to supervise the operation, which is a legal requirement.
Covid-19 in the US
The Biden administration has insisted on promoting vaccination as the main mechanism to deal with Covid-19. Vaccines for children are now available and citizens have also been asked to get a booster dose of the vaccine as soon as possible.
According to data from the Johns Hopkins University, so far, the United States has recorded 59,766,491 Covid-19 infections and 837,257 deaths from the disease since the pandemic began. On Friday alone, it reported 895,490 new cases of coronavirus. They report empty shelves in US stores and fear the worst.
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