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Closure Of Several Meatpacking Plants Not Expected To Impact Customers

DENVER (CBS4) - Despite the closing of several meatpacking plants across the country, including one in Colorado, experts don't believe there's a threat to the supply of food.

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(credit: CBS)

"The demand for commercial product has gone to almost zero while the domestic use product, what we would all buy at grocery stores, has gone up dramatically. Overall, the total amount of food remains about the same. But the nature of the packaging was never designed to take care of that. So there's an adjustment going on," said Gregg Macaluso the Faculty Director for the master's program in Supply Chain Management at the University of Colorado Boulder's Leeds School of Business.

The JBS meatpacking facility in Greeley will be closed for two weeks after an outbreak there, but the single plant makes up a tiny percentage of the meat across the country. Macaluso says grocery store chains and other businesses can handle the reduction from one plant.

"The concern maybe in the short run is that there will be ranchers and farmers that have product to get to market," he said. "And if these facilities close closely to where they are, what will they do with their product?"

Colorado's ranchers have been monitoring the situation at JBS, and potentially other meat facilities.

"We start to backlog that supply and subsequently we create uncertainty in the marketplace. We also have producers having to hold those animals longer and feed those animals longer," said Terry Fankhauser, the Executive Vice President of the Colorado Cattleman's Association.

While some people have seen barren meat aisles at their grocery stores, Colorado's ranchers say that was an issue with a rush from consumers and the demand is now being met. The JBS closure isn't drastically impacting the supply chain.

"This really shouldn't affect the consumer at this point in time. We have abundant supplies of beef in cold storage," Fankhauser said.

RELATED: Latest Updates On The Coronavirus Outbreak In Colorado



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