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Tyson Foods chairman offers dark warning about the food supply chain as processing plants close

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'The food supply chain is breaking'

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

As the coronavirus outbreak ravages on, Tyson Foods has a dark warning for Americans: "The food supply chain is breaking."

Tyson Foods, which is the second largest meat producing corporation in the world, ran full-page letters in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Sunday to warn of the coming food shortage that is likely to hit your local grocery store in the coming weeks.

"As pork, beef and chicken plants are being forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain," John Tyson, chairman of the Tyson Foods board, wrote.

"As a result, there will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed," he said.

Because numerous food processing centers are being forced to close due to COVID-19, farmers are unable to sell their normal lot of livestock, forcing them to "depopulate" millions of animals, Tyson explained — meaning the animals are being killed and not processed for food.

"In addition to meat shortages, this is a serious food waste issue," Tyson wrote. "The food supply chain is breaking."

Every major meat processing company — Tyson Foods, Smithfield Foods, JBS, and Cargill — has been hit hard by COVID-19, according to the Associated Press.

The Department of Agriculture, meanwhile, told Time magazine that the government is working to "ensure the food supply chain remains safe and secure."

However, Tyson was not the only top executive to warn of coming food shortages.

Earlier in April, Smithfield Foods CEO Kenneth Sullivan warned the COVID-19 outbreak "is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply."

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