FEMA internal document warns of food shortages if food workers are not protected from coronavirus

We’ve all seen news footage of people panic-buying toilet paper. Some of us have eyewitnessed some empty shelves in grocery stores, which later were restocked.

In fact, America’s grocery stores are generally well stocked. Government officials explain any temporary shortages as the result of unprecedented demand because people have bought more than usual, rather than an actual supply-chain breakdown. In the words of Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on March 20: “I want to assure you that our food supply chain is sound.”

But a FEMA internal document obtained by Yahoo News warns that we may begin to see food shortages for some products if supply chain workers — the people who make, package and deliver food — lack personal protective equipment (PPE) against the COVID-19 coronavirus, such as face masks and gloves.

PPE has been in short supply in hospitals, where doctors and nurses are routinely exposed to high amounts of coronavirus. The food industry also relies on a variety of protective equipment for food safety.

Alexander Nazaryan and Jana Winter report for Yahoo News that the April 2, 2020 internal document, titled “Senior Leadership Brief COVID-19,” bears the seals of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It contains a brief description of findings made by the Food Supply Chain Task Force that provides a daily update on various aspects of the coronavirus response, including details ranging from state-by-state infections to hospital capacity and test sites, as well as the availability of PPE.

The FEMA document warns that “if current PPE inventory is exhausted” — if face masks and gloves run out across the food supply chain — there would be the following shortages:

  • Shortages of milk within 24 hours.
  • Shortages of fresh fruits and vegetables “within several days.”
  • Meat, poultry, seafood, and processed eggs would become scarce within a period of two to four weeks.
  • “Dry goods and processed foods inventories” — that is, the non-perishables that are pantry staples — could become scarce “as soon as four weeks”.

It must be emphasized that the FEMA document is a warning of what may happen, and is not descriptive of the current situation. There are no signs of a food shortage in America, although the Wuhan virus pandemic is putting strain on every aspect of the food supply chain, from the people who raise and grow what we eat to the people who deliver it to our supermarkets.

Officials from FEMA, HHS and Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment. A senior Trump administration official said “We are not seeing any disruptions,” but declined to comment on the task force findings.

Food economist and Cornell University Ph.D. Shub Debgupta, author of a New York Times op/ed “Will the Coronavirus Threaten Our Food?,” told Yahoo News that although the United States “came into the whole virus outbreak with a relatively strong position” of “lots of frozen foods” in storage due to the China trade war, that “cushion” is “disappearing now.”

While Debgupta agreed with the government’s statements about the food supply chain, he cautioned that the situation could change in the coming weeks, citing the movement of food down the supply chain as the biggest potential problem:

“A few weeks or a month ago we were fine. We are fine. The issue really is in the distribution. If we don’t address that — the movement of people and goods — we’ll be in quite a lot of trouble.”

H/t longtime FOTM reader Anon

~Eowyn

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William
William
6 months ago

“Internal” memos that become public via such champions of the truth as Yahoo “News”are automatically suspect or should be. So this one says that food supply chain workers who are deprived of PPE might experience..what? Mild to moderate cough and fever or most likely nothing at all. As Israeli virologist Prof. Jihad Bishara stated, “most people won’t even know they have it. A little mucous, that’s all.” The horror.
“..the Wuhan virus pandemic is putting strain on every aspect of the food supply chain..” Correction: the Wuhan virus pandemic HOAX is doing that

Joseph Magil
Joseph Magil
6 months ago

I’d like to know what is being done to ensure this year’s harvest.

DCG
Admin
DCG
6 months ago
Reply to  Joseph Magil

I wonder if the money Bezos is donating to Feeding America goes to the food source/production?

Aside from that, I don’t trust the bureaucrats to know what they are doing to protect us.

William
William
6 months ago
Reply to  DCG

Bezos just wants to make sure we all have enough to eat. He loses sleep worrying about people going hungry. You don’t trust the bureaucrats? But..but..they’re experts! Oh you of little faith

truckjunkie
truckjunkie
6 months ago
Reply to  William

“Bezos just wants to make sure we all have enough to eat.”
No,Bezos just wants to make sure we all THINK he wants to make sure we all have enough to eat,great humanitarian that he is. Sorry-I haven’t seen too many “people of wealth” who have a humanitarian bone in their bodies.

William
William
6 months ago
Reply to  truckjunkie

I was being sarcastic as always. Bezos doesn’t care if we live or die. Actually he is among those who want most of us gone. In the age of Orwell an initiative called Feeding America would be intended to mean the exact opposite, “Artificially Producing Food Shortages in America”

Steven Broiles
6 months ago

Dave Hodges of The Common Sense Show said as late as yesterday that the food shortages will commence “by April 15th” due to supply chain interruptions. The truckers will be especially at risk.

HELL IS COMING. AND WE’RE GOING TO DISCOVER EVERONE’S TRUE COLORS.

CalGirl
CalGirl
6 months ago

Geez Luizeee…have any of you tried to buy garden veggie seeds to plant from local stores or online? Here in SoCal—NONE TO BE HAD!!! This is a clue to how long your neighbors think this crisis will go on…AND to how long they think the “normal” food supply will be available. Here in SoCal at my house, we’d already planted ahead of the pandemic a minimal garden of tomatoes, peppers, beets, Japanese Eggplant, and many herbs and early greens. We have other seeds to plant as the mini-climate calls for it, like “rocket” (arugula) that will be up for salad… Read more »