COVID-19, Farming, and Food Workers


Haddock is plentiful in Cape Cod Bay, but it’s not in high demand because it’s rather small and doesn’t fillet well, according to the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance. In other words, it’s perfect for chowder.

The grants paid fishermen for their catch and provided seed money for a local manufacturer to process, freeze and deliver the chowder to food banks in family-size servings.

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Bloomberg Opinion

Covid Almost Caused a Meat Crisis

America’s food supply chains came close to the breaking point last April. It shouldn’t happen again.


Adam Minter

February 12, 2021, 6:00 AM PST

Close call.

Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty

Last April, as the pandemic got underway, it was easy to laugh off the absurdity of toilet-paper shortages. But when supermarket meat cases emptied out at the end of the month, nobody was laughing. The shortages were the result of Covid outbreaks at a handful of companies responsible for most of the country’s meat supply. Briefly, the virus threatened to shatter a key link in America’s previously unbreakable food chain.Last week, a Democratic House panel started a probe into who was ultimately responsible for those outbreaks. It’s a crucial question, but it’s not the only one that lawmakers should be asking about this episode. They should also look into why just a handful of companies now processes almost all of the meat purchased by American consumers.To an extent few consumers appreciate, most of the U.S. meat supply emerges from a small number of facilities. By one estimate, about 50 large plants are responsible for slaughtering and processing 98% of the cattle in the U.S. Most of those plants are owned by just four companies: Tyson Foods Inc., JBS SA, Cargill Inc. and National Beef Packing Co. Collectively they control 73% of the cattle-processing market. It’s a similar story for chicken and pork.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold