Supermarket meat shortage looms as Omicron keeps meat workers at home |  Daily liberal

Supermarket meat shortage looms as Omicron keeps meat workers at home | Daily liberal

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SUPERMARKET Red meat supply shortage looms as Omicron cases force meat workers to stay home. Some slaughterhouses in New South Wales and Victoria have already been forced to close their doors for short periods, while many operate with minimal staff. In some cases, less than 30 percent of the workers on the list have reported for work. Fears are that the COVID-19 wave currently hitting Queensland will see the country’s largest beef processing precinct hit hard in the coming days, resulting in a severe shortage of ground meat, rump and bones. on retail shelves. Industry leaders are calling for immediate exemptions from public health orders for meat workers who are asymptomatic close contacts, access to free or low-cost rapid antigen tests, and prioritized PCR testing and lead times. Australian Meat Industry Council Executive Director Patrick Hutchinson described the current situation as the biggest major impact threat to Australia’s food supply chain since the pandemic emerged. For an industry already struggling under the weight of a severe labor shortage, there is no leeway to exclude people who are COVID-19 negative from the workforce, slaughterhouse bosses said. “We are experiencing an unprecedented wave of staff unpredictability,” Hutchinson said. “As COVID spreads in the community, workers in our industry cannot report to work for at least seven days if someone in their family or household tests positive, under current national protocol.” This is an industry where workers living together is common. “IN OTHER NEWS: Processors had invested heavily in safe measures for COVID and RAT tests were being performed daily on site, but now there are problems with the lack of available tests.” As we grapple with the rise of Omicron, we need state and federal governments to prioritize “We don’t want to see a widespread supply shortage exacerbated by panic buying,” Hutchinson said. The pandemic situation is exacerbating an already hugely challenging meat supply outlook, with a meager livestock supply and subsequent record prices prompting many industry leaders and analysts to warn of downed plants, and even full closures. , in 2022. The Thomas Elders Markets year under review for livestock said the average annual meat processor margin for 2021 posted a loss of $ 321. The final quarter of 2021 saw the margin drop to the lowest monthly point on record. since 2000 with per capita losses that extended beyond $ 400, according to TEM data. “Historically, there has been a high correlation between industry rationalization and processor shutdowns at times when margins remain in negative territory for an extended period,” said TEM analyst Matt Dalgleish. “Much of 2022 is unlikely to bring any relief to processors, so prepare for further industry consolidation within the processing sector.”

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