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Various American supermarkets they are reporting “empty shelf” incidents as fears about a looming meat and egg shortageIt’s amid a surge in Omicron cases.
Food chains have been one of the first to be disrupted by the new Covid variant, workers get sick and productivity drops.
The Omicron effect has led to a labor shortage, including farms and manufacturers and distributors, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Schools and daycare centers are also feeling the ramifications with the price of fuel rising as more Americans work at home.
Grand Rapids, Michigan-based grocery distributor and store operator SpartanNash Co. says it has seen cases among its staff triple, causing delays and workers feeling burned out.
With reports of “empty shelves,” Bindiya Vakil, CEO of supply chain consultancy Resilinc Corp, warns that “the labor shortage due to Ómicron is only going to exacerbate the problem.”
Last month, President Biden delivered a progress report on fighting the coronavirus pandemic, as the highly contagious new variant of Omicron spreads across the country.
The United States continues to see an increase in Covid cases across the country, President Joe Biden announced the addition of 10,000 coronavirus testing sites, in addition to the 80,000 that are already up and running.
The new sites will be established in the regions most affected by the latest wave and the Defense Production Law will be used to manufacture further tests.
The president also announced that his administration will purchase 500 million home rapid Covid tests for Americans.
Home tests are available to order free of charge through the website.
However, those plans have allayed fears among meat-producing companies that have reported signs of declining productivity.
During 2020, the main outbreaks in the plants caused shortages and spikes and the temporary closure of the companies.
Earlier this year, meat companies once again saw the number of slaughtered pigs and cattle reduced by as much as 6%, according to figures from the US Department of Agriculture.
The document also adds that it is difficult for plants to get food inspectors to go to work to oversee the processing of animals, which is a legal requirement.
Paula Soldner, president of the Joint National Council of Local Food Inspections, said: “The Delta variant didn’t have much of an impact on the workforce, but Omicron is catching us.”
Meanwhile, farms are facing a similar outbreak from Omicron, with one of the largest US free-range egg producers reporting staffing problems for about a year.
Despite active and “aggressive” hiring of workers, Campbell Soup and Egg Innovations say they are finding it increasingly difficult to keep workers on board as they cannot order vaccines.
On Friday, the U.S. reported 895,490 new cases of coronavirus, the New York Times reported.