Concentrating industrial production in a few plants has been the trend of the past 30 years. Even today, the Colao Commission is all a celebration of "Great is beautiful", but this can lead to an enormous fragility of the logistics chain and also to the possibility of not finding food products on the shelves.
In the USA they begin to have some fears on the matter, after the Environmental working Group has reported how Covid-19 cases have spread to at least 60 large food production plants in the USA, affecting giants such as Kraft, Heinz, Birds Eye, Conagra , and Campbell Soup Company. In the image below there is a list of the most affected plants:
The problem is that no federal agency specifically deals with collecting information about the spread of infectious diseases in food plants. In March the meat sector went into crisis when several plants had to close due to the spread of Covid-19: the slaughterhouses are wet, cold and often with shoulder-to-shoulder workers, a situation that has favored the spread of the disease. however, this feature of the plants is not specific only to meat processing, but also to the whole sector of processing fresh products, from vegetable preserves to fish processing to fresh dairy products. The plants proved to be completely unprepared for the epidemic and the staff, often made up of low-culture immigrants and particularly low wages, were not trained in time to maintain new safety standards. Often the workers did not stay at home despite having the symptoms of Covid-19 because they still had to maintain large families and wages are always required. The results are being seen dramatically with stock breaks, i.e. temporary lack of some products from the shelves, and with an increase in meat prices:
Of course, a less concentrated industrial sector would have run fewer risks, but would not have given reason to Colao. However, companies will invest in more funds in automation, in order to be more resilient to diseases … .. and pay even fewer workers.
This is a machine translation of a post published on Scenari Economici at the URL https://scenarieconomici.it/la-covid-19-si-diffonde-in-60-impianti-alimentari-usa-si-rivela-la-fragilita-della-catena-logistica/ on Sat, 13 Jun 2020 07:00:22 +0000.