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Smithfield warns of potential meat shortage after closing plant amid coronaviurs concerns

3News' Brandon Simmons explains what you can do to help to prevent the shortage.

At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, certain products were hard to come by across the nation. Items like toilet paper and cleaning supplies were nearly impossible to find. 

As of Monday, there may be a new item that's hard to find at your local super market -- meat. 

Smithfield, one of America's major food processors, warned of a possible meat shortage after announcing the indefinite closure of its Sioux Fall processing facility over coronavirus concerns. It's one of the largest pork producing facilities in the country. 

"The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply," said Smithfield CEO Kenneth Sullivan in a statement. "It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running," he continued. 

Representing four to five percent of U.S. production, equating to roughly 130 million servings of food per week, the plant closure is a major blow to the supply chain.

Smaller plants have closed as well and additionally, livestock farmers have no where to send their animals. But at home, stores continue to work to keep shelves stocked. 

"In recent weeks, we have worked closely with our supply partners to replenish many of the essential items that were hard to come by for some guests," said a representative from Giant Eagle. 

So while most stores have meat now, it could become a problem later. However, experts are warning everybody not to panic buy because that will just makes things worse.

To read the full statement from Smithfield, click here

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