Saturday, June 6, 2020

Forced Famine Coming to AmeriKa

It is a situation that has ended very badly in the past.

"Meat plant closures mean pigs are gassed or shot instead" by Michael Corkery and David Yaffe-Bellany New York Times, May 14, 2020

One Minnesota hog farmer sealed the cracks in his barn and piped carbon dioxide through the ventilation system. Another farmer has considered gassing his animals after loading them into a truck, and a third shot his pigs in the head with a gun. It took him all day.

These are dark days on many American pig farms. Coronavirus outbreaks at meatpacking plants across the Midwest have created a backlog of pigs that are ready for slaughter but have nowhere to go. Hundreds of thousands of pigs have grown too large to be slaughtered commercially, forcing farmers to kill them and dispose of their carcasses without processing them into food, and yet, around the United States, scores of people are struggling to find enough to eat, lining up at food banks after losing their jobs in the economic fallout of the pandemic. Distribution issues have caused grocery stores and fast-food restaurants to run low on meat. Kroger, the largest US supermarket chain, is limiting the amount of ground beef and pork that customers can buy at some stores. Costco has placed a three-product cap on purchases of fresh beef, poultry, and pork. Wendy’s has run out of hamburgers at hundreds of locations.


"Hundreds of Wendy’s restaurants have run out of hamburgers. Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the United States, is limiting the amount of ground beef and pork that customers can buy at some stores, and Costco, where shoppers typically buy in bulk, has placed a three-product cap on purchases of fresh beef, poultry, and pork. Over the last month, dozens of meatpacking plants across the country have shut down because of coronavirus outbreaks, raising concerns about the country’s meat supply. On Monday, nearly one in five Wendy’s restaurants — a total of 1,043 locations — were completely sold out of beef products, including burgers, according to analysis by the financial firm Stephens, which examined the online menu at every Wendy’s in the United States."

Also see:

"Restaurant Brands International Inc., the owner of Burger King and Tim Hortons, says the food-service industry needs to change “for the foreseeable future and possibly forever” after COVID-19. In an open letter Tuesday, chief executive Jose Cil said his company is preparing to welcome diners back as governments start to reopen their economies. One option being considered is “more comfortable and reusable masks that may become part of our standard uniforms.” Restaurant Brands is increasing its digital ordering capabilities by adding its restaurants to smartphone apps, Cil said. He also said that the company is adding curbside pickup service. Inside restaurants, it’s making sure customers are spaced out in all locations, regardless of local regulations."

"McDonald’s Corp. was sued by a handful of workers in Chicago who claim the restaurant chain has failed to keep them and others safe while they continue to serve food during the COVID-19 pandemic. Five employees sued in Illinois state court Tuesday claiming they are being forced to work “in close proximity” to potentially infected co-workers and customers, and that McDonald’s and its franchise restaurants “are failing to take important steps to contain the virus. McDonald’s managers have told workers to reuse gloves, accused employees of trying to steal gloves, and claimed that there’s no need to physically distance if they restrict contact with others to under 10 minutes, according to the lawsuit. McDonald’s said in a statement that it has updated nearly 50 safety procedures, including “wellness checks, protective barriers, adhering to social-distancing guidelines for customers and crew, using gloves and masks, increasing the frequency of hand washing and moving to contactless operations."

I never ago there or to any fast food places so I wouldn't have known, but can you imagine pulling up to the hamburger stand and them telling you, sorry, no hamburgers.

At least the milkman is making a comeback (has no mask so you can see the eat-$hit grin), as local farms donate thousands of gallons of milk to those in need as the market dissolves.

The waste of viable pigs at a time of great need is causing both deep economic loss and emotional anguish across the nation’s pork industry.

“There are farmers who cannot finish their sentences when they talk about what they have to do,” said Greg Boerboom, a second-generation pig farmer in Marshall, Minn., who is trying to find ways to avoid killing a backlog of more than 1,000 pigs.

“This will drive people out of farming. There will be suicides in rural America.”

Killings, too, for this is what happened in the Soviet Union 100 years ago (along with another pandemic).

I have to admit, I am having trouble with these articles about the food supply and coming shortages that will eventually be the National Guard hucking a box of gruel on your doorstep. Hey, this isn't what I ordered! These grapes are mealy, and I can't eat gluten! Too bad. Will need to make do with your bag of rice, bag of beans, and whatever else they can spare.

The number of pigs being slaughtered but not used for food is staggering. In Iowa, the nation’s largest pork-producing state, agricultural officials expect the backlog to reach 600,000 hogs over the next six weeks. In Minnesota, an estimated 90,000 pigs have been killed on farms since the meat plants began closing last month.

The crisis mostly affects farmers with large pork operations who usually send pigs to be slaughtered in giant meatpacking plants run by companies like Tyson and Smithfield, but the obligation to kill the animals themselves, and then get rid of the carcasses, is wrenching. Last month, Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, and other leaders in Iowa asked the White House’s coronavirus task force to provide mental health resources to hog farmers, as well as money to compensate them for the pigs they have had to kill and not turned into meat. On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of 13 senators sent a letter to congressional leaders asking for funding for pig farmers and warning that “failure to have a sensible and orderly process for thinning the herd will lead to animal health issues, environmental issues, and pork producers going out of business.”

That is what they will be doing to us when the food shortages hit -- if by starvation alone!

The White House has taken some steps to address the problem. Last month, President Trump issued an executive order that gave the Department of Agriculture more authority to keep plants running, and the federal government has announced plans to buy $100 million a month in surplus meat, but even as some meat plants reopen, it most likely won’t be enough or come in time to prevent all of the waste. “The economic part of it is damaging,” said Steve Meyer, a pork industry analyst, “but the emotional and psychological and spiritual impact of this will have much longer consequences.”

As if those behind the closures are $atanic!

Pigs are not the only casualties. Last month, a farmer in Minnesota watched an egg-processing company gas 61,000 of his birds. Poultry processor Allen Harim Foods sent a letter to farmers in April announcing plans to begin “depopulating flocks in the field.” In all, it killed nearly 2 million birds on farms in Delaware and Maryland last month.

Like the dumping of fresh milk and destruction of fresh vegetables on farms, the waste of viable livestock shows how finely calibrated and concentrated the US agricultural system has become after decades of consolidation. There are relatively few plants equipped to process most of the nation’s pork, leaving farmers with no real alternatives when the largest facilities close.

Those last two paragraphs are HUGE, and the article should have been a PAGE ONE story; however, it was buried far back in the business section.

Here is the gristle and fat the print version left on the slaughterhouse floor:

Mass-produced pigs live on a tight schedule. They are raised to grow to more than 300 pounds over roughly six months. Pigs that grow too much above that weight make it unsafe for meatpacking workers to hoist the carcasses along the slaughter line. As they wait for slaughterhouses to reopen, many farmers are looking for ways to slow the growth of their pigs, raising barn temperatures to make them less interested in eating or altering the feed recipe to make it less appetizing.

At his farm in South Dakota, Shane Odegaard sends about 15,000 hogs a year to Smithfield’s meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which accounts for more than 90 percent of his revenue. Since the plant closed April 12, Odegaard has worked with a nutritionist to devise a new diet plan for his pigs, eliminating protein and fat to curb weight gain. He has also squeezed more pigs into his barns and the partial reopening of the Sioux Falls facility has helped, but he still has a backlog. “The question is how long can we hang on to this without being forced to euthanize,” he said.

Here is why South Dakota has become a coronavirus hotspot.

Many farmers are simply running out of space. Right behind one generation of pigs, another is always being raised. Older, larger pigs have to be sold to the meatpacking plants to make room for younger batches. One farmer ordered his staff to give injections to pregnant sows that would cause them to abort baby pigs. Others have sold live pigs on Facebook and Craigslist.

I'm aghast!


I'm told it is “better to go hungry than to get the coronavirus,” and the world’s biggest maker of mining and construction equipment is predicting that the pain from the coronavirus crisis is far from over as we inch along:

"Trump to order meat plants to stay open in move slammed by union" by Jennifer Jacobs and Lydia Mulvany Bloomberg News, April 28, 2020

President Trump plans to order slaughterhouses to remain open, setting up a showdown between the giant companies that produce America’s meat and the unions and activists who want to protect workers in a pandemic.

Using the Defense Production Act, Trump will order plants to stay open as part of the critical infrastructure needed to keep people fed amid growing supply disruptions from the coronavirus outbreak, a person familiar with the matter said. The government will provide additional protective gear for employees as well as guidance, according to the person.

The move would come just days after Tyson Foods Inc., the biggest US meat processor, ran paid ads in national newspapers stating that the food supply chain was “broken.”

We once had the greatest system in the world.

A handful of companies account for the majority of the nation’s meat, and as workers fell sick in March, plants initially continued to run, but pressure from local health officials and unions led to voluntary closures.

Companies have been pressing to reopen. The president himself has long agitated for Americans to return to work and restore an economy crippled by social distancing measures.

That was written over five weeks ago!

Environmental Working Group called the order a potential death sentence. The United Food and Commercial Workers union said in a statement that if workers aren’t safe, the food supply won’t be either. At least 20 workers in meat and food processing have died, and 5,000 meatpacking workers have either tested positive for the virus or were forced to self-quarantine, according to UFCW.

While unions have been speaking out against unsafe plant conditions and working for boosts in pay, collective bargaining agreements often restrict them from organizing or endorsing strikes. Still, lives are stake, unions say.

“People should never be expected to put their lives at risk by going to work,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “If they can’t be assured of their safety, they have every right to make their concerns heard by their employers.”

Trump signaled the executive action at the White House on Tuesday, saying he planned to sign an order aimed at Tyson’s liability, which had become “a road block” for the company. He didn’t elaborate.

The order, though, will not be limited to Tyson, an administration official said. It will affect many processing plants supplying beef, chicken, eggs, and pork.

JBS’s local unit and Smithfield Foods Inc. didn’t immediately respond to calls and e-mails, while Tyson and Cargill Inc. said they couldn’t comment because they don’t have the executive order. Tyson did say safety remains its top priority “while we work to continue fulfilling our role of feeding families across the country.”

Isn't JBS in Brazil, and Cargill is looking to move to Cuba?

The White House decided to make the move amid estimates that as much as 80 percent of US meat production capacity could shut down, but a union representing plant workers accused the administration of failing to develop meaningful safety requirements that would have helped contain the disruptions.

On Sunday, Tyson Foods chairman John Tyson said in a blog post and paid advertisements in several newspapers that the US food supply chain “is breaking,” with millions of pounds of meat set to “disappear” as plants close.

It's a.... gulp.... Holocau$t!

Illnesses in the meat-processing industry and shifts in demand after restaurants closed have disrupted the supply chain. Dairy farmers are dumping milk that can’t be sold to processors, broiler operations have been breaking eggs to reduce supplies, and some fruit and vegetables are rotting in fields amid labor and distribution disruptions.

That was when the printed paper took the plate away.

Many low-income Americans, meanwhile, have been waiting in long lines at food banks, which have reported shortages. Asked about the country’s food supply, Trump said: “There’s plenty of supply.”

Yeah, he doesn't have to worry about his meals, and the food lines are beyond the former Soviet Union -- and this crisis has only just begun!

The Defense Production Act allows the government broad power to direct industrial production in crises. Trump has previously invoked the lawor threatened to invoke it — in order to increase the supply of medical gear including ventilators, masks, and swabs to test for coronavirus infection.

Well, did he invoke it or didn't he?

The White House has been discussing the order with meatpacking executives to determine what they need to operate safely and stay open, in order to prevent shortages, an administration official said.

White House general counsel Pat Cipollone worked with private companies to design a federal mandate to keep the plants open and to provide them additional virus testing capacity as well as protective gear.

Still less coming out of the chute.

Trump acted one day after Iowa’s two US senators and its governor urged the administration to invoke the DPA to keep meatpackers open and reopen closed facilities “as soon as it is possible to do so safely.” Iowa produces one-third of the nation’s pork supply, according to the state officials. The officials also asked for federal assistance in euthanizing pigs and reimbursing hog farmers for their losses due to closures of processing facilities. 

At least 22 meat plants have closed within the past two months, reducing pork processing capacity by 25 percent and beef processing capacity by 10 percent, according to UFCW. Farmers have animals with nowhere to go as a result, and the situation is so dire that the US Department of Agriculture is setting up a center to help growers with “depopulation and disposal methods” for animals.

Planned, calculated effort to create a famine, folks. This is evil and TRULY FRIGHTENING!

Experts have warned the US could be just weeks away from fresh meat shortages. While inventories can provide some cushion, stockpiles are limited. Total American meat supplies in cold-storage facilities are equal to roughly two weeks of production. With most plant shutdowns lasting about 14 days for safety reasons, that further underscores the potential for deficits, and the shutdowns are happening at a time when global meat supplies were already tight. China, the world’s top hog producer, has been battling an outbreak of African swine fever, which destroyed millions of the country’s pigs.

So in addition to COVID, the U.S. loosed that on them, too?


Before continuing you should watch this 20-minute video that really cuts to the bone:

I put it up because it is something you need to know, and the YouTube site has lots of links.


Now it is back to work:

At the start of her shift at Vibram factory in North Brookfield, an employee had her temperature checked by a plant supervisor.
At the start of her shift at Vibram factory in North Brookfield, an employee had her temperature checked by a plant supervisor. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe).

"When Massachusetts goes back to work, it won’t be business as usual; A picture of how working life may change emerges from interviews with more than a dozen CEOs and other executives planning for the day when the state begins easing COVID-19 restrictions" by Larry Edelman, Jon Chesto and Shirley Leung Globe Staff and Globe Columnist, April 28, 2020

First there will be waiting.

Then, in the office, you may see the same furniture but get a different vibe. More empty desks, as employers stagger schedules, allow some people to work remotely, and don’t bring back everyone who was laid off. The cubicle may make a comeback, while communal spaces are restricted. Trying to stay 6 feet from co-workers. Less face-to-face collaboration and fewer casual chats. Everyone in masks. The lingering smell of disinfectant.

Think of it as the 21st-Century Office.

When Massachusetts goes back into work, it won’t be business as usual.

A picture of how working life may change emerges from interviews with more than a dozen CEOs and other executives planning for the day when the state begins easing COVID-19 restrictions. A common theme: Pre-coronavirus routines will give way to post-pandemic trial and error, a possibly shifting set of protocols, as businesses search for a new normal.

"There is no question this is a paradigm-shift moment on how we are going to work,” said Doug Gensler, managing director of architecture firm Gensler in Boston, which is helping clients adapt work spaces to a post-COVID world.


There is a consensus — the product of research by academics, consultants, and government officials in formal and informal working groups — about when to reanimate the roughly 60 percent of the economy that was frozen or forced to work remotely to halt the pandemic.

The criteria include a 14-day reduction in COVID-19 cases, a significant increase in testing and tracking, adequate hospital capacity to handle the spike in cases that’s expected as people begin to reengage with each other, and resources to help the newly infected during self-quarantine.

F**K OFF!!

Once those conditions are in place, it’s expected that Baker will authorize opening nonessential workplaces, in phases, as long as procedures for social distancing, use of personal protective equipment, and enhanced hygiene can be followed.

Who f**king made him king?

The economic impact of the COVID shutdown has been devastating, particularly for lower-wage workers, said Stephen Pagliuca, one of the most prominent business leaders advising Baker on the reopening process, but the public’s health, he said, needs to outweigh business concerns.

“I don’t want to be in a society where we’re setting up systems for many people to die,” said Pagliuca, who is cochairman of investment firm Bain Capital and a co-owner of the Boston Celtics.


That comes from Steve Pagliuca, best known around town for his two day jobs: co-chairman of private equity firm Bain Capital, and co-owner of the Boston Celtics, but in the past month, he’s become something else: a ringleader for the business community’s efforts to gradually get the state’s economy moving again with help from colleagues at consulting giant McKinsey & Co. (Lizwhere are you?), and he says “it’s going to be a while before we get back to normal,” absent universal testing or a COVID-19 vaccine, because life can’t really return to normal without a widely available vaccine and only a COVID-19 Vaccine can save the economy.

He is pushing a $y$tem that is set up to kill people with his vaccine promotion, and I wonder how many lives Bain and their ilk have indirectly destroyed. Just the kind of guy you want in charge of reopening.

That’s the view from 30,000 feet, but when business people begin planning for what to do on the ground, they quickly get mired in a swamp of crucial questions.


Who can open first, and who will have to wait? Will workers feel safe riding public transportation. How many people can work safely in an office, store, or on the factory floor? Will some want to continue working remotely, either because they lack child care or fear infection? Will there be enough COVID tests and thermometers to monitor employees as they arrive at work?

Who gives a f**k?

Answers are hard to come by. Absent a COVID-19 vaccine, scientists and economists say widespread testing is perhaps the best way to get the economy moving. Testing would not only allow health officials to keep close tabs on the coronavirus, it would also help people feel more comfortable going back to the workplace and all the other steps that entails, such as taking public transportation, riding elevators, and even eating lunch out.

I doubt it, and screw the medical fascism.

While the state has been a leader in testing those who may have the virus, it does not appear that the Baker administration will roll out tests to the masses. Rather the administration is focused on contact tracing and targeted testing by figuring out who has been exposed and giving tests to them.

It doesn't appear that they want mass testing, but not everything is as it appears in the lying, agenda-pushing paper!

Many of the executives interviewed by the Globe said they would forgo testing due to the expense and instead rely on daily temperature checks and other measures to monitor the health of their workers.

That is going to make me run hot.

Businesses are weighing changes far beyond the use of masks and deep cleanings.

Legal Sea Foods has closed all its restaurants, but CEO Roger Berkowitz isn’t sitting around waiting for the green light to reopen. Instead, he and his management team are rethinking every aspect of the business, which he concedes may have grown needlessly complex over the years.

“This crisis gives you pause,” said Berkowitz. “It gives you the opportunity to think about how you would change things."

Berkowitz wants Legal to do fewer things better. “I suspect we will have more simplified menus. Do I really need 150 different selections of wine?”

He also plans to reduce the company’s reliance on sit-down dining by expanding online and into supermarkets and food service.

I think I am going to pass on the seafood since it $tinks.

At the Museum of Science, the crisis has pushed the museum to move faster into online programming. Moreover, president Tim Ritchie said the museum is rethinking everything from whether to require appointments, how to lay out its 100,000 square feet of exhibit space to encourage social distancing, and whether to require visitors to wear masks, and then there are its raft of exhibits that encourage visitors to touch buttons and screens that will have to be rethought: “We can be interactive but not hands-on,” Ritchie said.

I have mixed emotions there because I have fond memories of visiting the place many years ago.

Despite our eagerness to get past the crisis, many people may find returning to the workplace disconcerting, if not frightening, while the virus is still circulating widely.....

Yeah, the “last thing you want is another Biogen conference,” even as they have gotten it so wrong with the “economy and people’s livelihoods on the line.”

You've destroyed livelihoods, you f**ker!!!!!



"The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Healyh and Safety is tracking workers who have died from or been infected by COVID-19, likely due to exposure at the workplace. They are workers on the front lines at hospitals, nursing homes, grocery stores, MBTA yards, and fire houses, but because there is no comprehensive data on the jobs of those who test positive who die from COVID-19, the organization acknowledges its tally is a vast undercount. To help protect workers, and ensure that they or their families get workers' compensation, benefits, MassCOSH is calling for legislators to require the state Department of Public Health to include occupation information as part of the demographics it collects on COVID-19 patients."

Even the police and fire departments are filing complaints, and for restaurants, the long-term damage is all but certain, in Boston and around the country (she is the last one I would want to share a table with, and here are the five individuals in world history that I would like to sit and have linch with: Hitler, bin Laden, JFK, Gandhi, and MLK -- with my Last Supper being with 
Jesus Christ. I think they would all be fascinating and stimulating experiences.

Of course, there would be no meat on the menu regarding the first one.

"Coming to a grocery store near you: meat shortages; The meatpacking industry is reeling from coronavirus infections, forcing stores to limit sales" by Janelle Nanos Globe Staff, April 29, 2020

The novel coronavirus has brought the US meat industry to a seemingly unheard of moment in a first-world country: rationing in the grocery aisles as some two dozen meatpacking plants across the country have shuttered as infections raced through the workforce. Consumer prices have jumped, stores are limiting purchases, and farmers and ranchers are euthanizing livestock because slaughterhouses are closed.

The farmers are face the prospect of euthanizing hundreds of thousands of healthy pigs as pork producers say they need more flexibility on the virus guidelines and Trump talks with his mouth open.

On Tuesday, in an effort to stave off shortages, President Trump took the extraordinary step of an executive order directing US meat plants to remain open. After weeks of inaction, the executive order closely followed the administration’s release this past weekend of social distancing guidelines for plants where workers are accustomed to standing elbow-to-elbow slicing the sirloins and flanks for our dinner plates, but many who have been watching the virus creep into the food system say that because the new CDC guidelines are not mandated, they’ll do little to stem the spread.

“The executive order allows companies to knowingly put workers at risk. It removes the few legal protections that workers have, and protects the companies from lawsuits instead,” said William Masters, a professor of economics at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition. It’s "astonishing to see the Defense Production Act used in this way, especially when the administration has done so little to use the law to fix shortages of medical supplies and PPE. ... It’s breathtaking, really.”

Food industry analysts say this crisis has revealed the vulnerabilities in the meat system. More than 3,000 workers have been diagnosed with the virus, and at least 17 workers have died. Pork and beef production is down 25 percent as result of the outbreaks, and two of the country’s largest producers, Tyson and Smithfield, have suspended operations at two massive plants. The US Department of Agriculture now anticipates beef, chicken, and pork prices to climb between 1 and 3 percent this year. This past weekend, Tyson took out full page ads in major newspapers stating that the “food supply chain is vulnerable.”

The crisis is now playing out throughout the region’s grocery chains. After weeks of having a steady meat supply, “We’ve hit a wall,” admitted Arthur Ackles, vice president of merchandising for Roche Bros. He said that he expects the chain to begin limiting meat purchases to two packages of each type per customer on Thursday, “and prices are going through the roof," he added. "We’ve been really careful. We don’t want to put any more stress on customers, but it’s getting to the point where we’re seeing a 100 to 200 percent increase in cost, particularly in beef, and the consumer is going to start feeling that.”

Better fill up your cart now then.

So how did we get here?

“When we suddenly declared everyone working in food production as essential, it was a green light for those businesses to keep doing business as usual,” said Emily Broad Leib, head of the Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard University. Plants continued operating without issuing proper protective gear to their workers, she said, and once people started falling ill, it set off a chain reaction that we’re seeing now. “This is going to get worse before it gets better,” she said, but industry hardships are not only being borne by factory workers.

I'm sick of Harvard elites lecturing us all while looking out for the lower classes.

“The coronavirus pandemic has amplified all the challenges of the food system and animal supply chain,” said Jessie Deelo, a sustainable agriculture consultant based in Boston. She said modern, large-scale agricultural systems are designed to optimize efficiency, with hundreds of farmers relying on some of the largest meat-processing plants in the country to process millions of animals each week, but that efficiency means running on the tightest of margins. So when plants slow down their processing, or close entirely, shock waves ripple through the system. Farmers who have raised livestock for slaughter are now left without options, she said, and many are now euthanizing barns full of animals and burying them.

“When the system works, consumers benefit," said Deelo, “but when the system is disrupted, the weaknesses are hurting the individuals the most, and consumers are going to see inflated meat prices and possible supply disruption.”

It worked great for decades until the COVID $CAMDEMIC!

Adding to the disruption is the closure of restaurants and other institutions that buy meat in bulk, said John Kinnealey, president of T.F. Kinnealey & Co., which distributes meat to hotels, universities, and more than 1,500 restaurants in New England.

“If you look at the industry five weeks ago, there was a great symbiotic balance between food service and retail in terms of the different parts of animals being divided up for consumption," he said. Ground beef went to grocery stores, while the choice sirloin cuts ended up at steakhouses, but now those restaurants have shuttered and “buying habits have gone haywire" with empty nesters suddenly shopping for a houseful of kids again.

Yeah, the destruction of the restaurant industry -- now reduced to 25% of revenue when most were operating on the slimmest of margins -- has had a devastating ripple effect.

That’s exactly the scenario Patty Astuti of Tewksbury is experiencing. She’s attempting to feed seven people during the pandemic, including one son home from college and another who moved in with his wife and daughter earlier this year so they could save up for a home. She typically spent $200 a week on groceries, but now goes multiple times a week to keep stocking up due to shortages.

During a trip to BJ’s in Stoneham on Tuesday, she said, the meat department was nearly wiped out. “They had no chicken in the cooler," she said, and the entire meat section had only some rotisserie birds, some beef, and a few slabs of ribs.

Experts say they understand why consumers would choose to bulk up their meat buying, even if it’s not in their own best interest, as that may drive up prices. “Some of the gyrations at the meat counter have been due to panic buying or seeking comfort foods,” said Masters.

“We’re not going to see a scarcity, but the immediate effect is that we won’t see a wide variety of product on the shelves over the next months while the sheltering in place is happening,” said Christopher Mejia Argueta, a research scientist at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics.

He will scan your purchase for you.

He said it’s important to remember that unlike swine flu or mad cow disease, this virus is not affecting the animals. So while prices may rise slightly, the supply will remain largely intact. He anticipates that, like the virus itself, the impact on the meat supply chain will be cyclical, with the US turning to imports from other countries that may not be experiencing viral outbreaks. “While certain regions of the world are recovering," he said, "others will be helping to provide food to them.”

There may not be any imports, and you are safe as long as you don't eat any dogs.

Many industry experts say that, while the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of the food system, they’re skeptical about whether it will affect the industry in the long run.

“I’m a bit of a cynic,” said Deelo. “If the Newtown [school shooting] couldn’t fix gun policy, I don’t know how coronavirus fixes this. Tyson can take out a full page ad, but your chicken farmers are up to their necks in debt." Until the industry adjusts and workers and farmers have a social safety net, little will change, she said.

“The deck is stacked against them.”

And us all.



"A South Dakota pork processing plant took its first steps toward reopening Monday after being shuttered for more than two weeks because of a coronavirus outbreak that infected more than 800 employees. Employees reporting for work in Smithfield Foods’ ground pork department filed through a tent where they were screened for fever and other signs of COVID-19. Some said they felt the measures Smithfield has taken would protect them from another virus outbreak, while others were not confident that infections could be halted in a crowded plant. Following an executive order from President Trump ordering meat plants to remain open, Arkansas-based Tyson Foods was also resuming “limited production” Monday at its pork plant in Logansport, Ind., where nearly 900 employees tested positive, and the JBS pork plant in Worthington, Minn. — just an hour east of Smithfield’s South Dakota plant — planned a partial reopening on Wednesday. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Monday called meatpacking plants — along with nursing homes — “the most dangerous places there are right now.’’ He called for greater protections for meatpacking workers, as well as a $13-an-hour pay premium."

It is criminal what happened at the nursing homes (my advice is read that article twice, and then again)!

"A South Dakota pork processing plant took its first steps toward reopening Monday after being shuttered for over two weeks because of a coronavirus outbreak that infected more than 800 employees. Employees at Smithfield Foods’ ground pork department filed through a tent where they were screened for fever and other signs of COVID-19. Some said they felt such measures would protect them; others were not confident infections could be halted in a crowded plant. Following an order from President Trump that meat plants remain open, Arkansas-based Tyson Foods was also resuming “limited production” Monday at its pork plant in Logansport, Ind., where nearly 900 employees tested positive, and the JBS pork plant in Worthington, Minn., planned a partial reopening on Wednesday. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Monday called meatpacking plants — along with nursing homes — “the most dangerous places there are right now.’’ He called for greater protections for meatpackers and a $13-an-hour pay premium. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on Friday said more than 4,900 workers at meat and poultry facilities have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, including 20 who died. Not all states provided data."

Wow, deja-vu.

Ready to take a walk to Whole Foods, old man?

"Senior shopping hours come with their own anxiety" by Linda Matchan Globe Correspondent, May 4, 2020

Welcome to the hour mandated by the state to make life safer and less stressful for older people.

There’s been a lot of ink spilled about panic shopping — the hoarding of toilet paper and sanitizer, the frantic hunt for bottled water, but in the wee morning hours when most people are still asleep, there’s another kind of crisis shopping taking place.

This is the period grocery stores set aside for adults 60 and over, a requirement imposed in March by the state. (Some stores also extend it to other at-risk groups, including those with disabilities or weakened immune systems.)

I'm actually awake at the time they are talking, for I rarely rise after 5. I'm usually up by 4, 4:45 at the latest.

Early to bed, early to rise..... the jackboot is in for a surprise?

It’s intended to limit potential exposure to the coronavirus for the most vulnerable, but it has other benefits too, as I learned from visiting eight grocery stores in five local communities. The stores are quiet, and workers seem extraordinarily considerate and kind. The goods haven’t yet been picked over — there’s toilet paper galore, and twice I even scored disinfecting wipes, but this special hour comes with its own anxiety and occasionally even drama, such as the skirmish on a recent Thursday morning at Market Basket in Waltham.

Oh, no.

There the senior hour is between 6 and 7. Maybe it was the early rising that unsettled one particular shopper, or being made to wait outside in the chilly darkness in a queue so long — at least 60 people — it wound around the building, or the glitch with social distancing: The store had taped blue X’s at 6-foot intervals on the sidewalk to indicate where shoppers should stand, but shoppers bunched together anyway.

By the time the woman made it through the door, she’d clearly had it.

“Why aren’t you wearing a mask?” she screamed at a young employee unpacking boxes.

“I don’t even know you,” he snapped. “I’ve only been here 10 minutes, and I haven’t had a chance to put it on yet.”

“This is not,” she hollered, “how I want to die.”

Don't worry, the National Guard will soon be tossing box of rations onto your porch. It won't be what you want or what you would have picked out, and dietary restrictions like lactose intolerance or gluten allergies won't matter. You will either gut it out or starve, and what are you going to do, argue with a Guardsman?

As I enter the twilight of my life, I am left to ponder WTF is wrong with you city folk?

Despite the melodrama, I sympathized. All shoppers are worn down and snappish these days despite labor-intensive, even heroic, efforts by supermarket staff to keep people safe while staying safe themselves.

Speak for yourself; I find I am more polite than ever.

Shopping is scary for everyone, with potential virus carriers at every turn and too many social distancing flouters, and many items are scarce: Produce is patchy, yeast has been missing for weeks, hot dogs are on-and-off, hand sanitizer is . . . nowhere. There’s no predictability anymore, as favored items are constantly shifting and disappearing. It could be bananas one week, SkinnyPop Popcorn the next.

You have been weaponized by the pre$$, citizen!

For older people or anyone whose health is compromised, these circumstances are more difficult. They have only an hour to get it all done before the hordes descend and can’t readily make a second trip or go elsewhere to pick up everything they need. Many people over 60 feel all the more vulnerable when they see workers not wearing face masks.

Let me know when you are going shopping so I can reschedule. I wouldn't want to share a store with you (if these accounts are true and not made up fiction. It's happened before, many times).

Daphne Romanoff, 60, of Newton said she went to Wegmans in Chestnut Hill at senior hour and all the seniors were wearing masks, but several Wegmans staff and vendors stocking the shelves were not.

They talked to Romanoff, huh?

“Wegmans sets up senior shopping allegedly because there will be less people there and we’re supposedly in a higher risk category,” she said. "So we show up wearing masks and the staff doesn’t?“

Gripe, gripe, gripe.

A Wegmans spokesman declined to comment.

Then there are the apparent under-60 libertarians — shopping early, even if they appear not to be seniors.

“I’m 60!” a woman in a fleece jacket and jeans hollered to no one — in case anyone was sizing her up — while waiting in line at a recent Newton Whole Foods senior hour.

A sign in the window stated the store opened early for “customers who are 60 and older,” and the doorway was guarded by a burly man functioning as bouncer.

“This is for over 60s,” the man called out to a 40-ish woman taking her place in line.

“She ignored you,” I said. “Have you seen that happen before?”

“Yup,” he said. “There’s only so much I can do. I’m not a cop.” 

Look at the Globe reporter INSTIGATING things!

It’s hard to know how common this is, and whether younger people are impostors trying to pull a fast one (which is not hard to do with a mask on), have a health condition they’d rather not disclose, or are just oblivious, but it appears that some people interpret “over 60” as merely a guideline. One healthy 59-year-old told me she’s comfortable shopping at senior hour because she’s “almost 60.”

None of this makes actual seniors happy.

“We called Whole Foods Market in Fresh Pond, Cambridge, twice Saturday, and were told that the first hour, from 8 to 9, would be reserved for elders,” Charles Fried said in an e-mail to The Boston Globe. “My wife, age 80, went there at 8 Sunday morning and once inside found it crowded with shoppers of all ages and a greeter welcoming all. This [is] disgraceful. There were what I would call contract shoppers filling orders to be delivered, and they were definitely not 60-plus,” he added.

Yeah, how dare people need food to eat?

A Whole Foods spokesman responded by e-mail that the hour before the store opens to the general public is open to those 60 and older, with disabilities, and at high risk, as defined by the CDC.

“The only workers in the store [at that hour] are our Team Members and Prime Now shoppers that are there to serve our customers."

Harvey Cotton of Boston was pleased to find himself carded, at age 60, at Whole Foods in South Boston. He was less pleased when he got inside and noticed several young Amazon Prime workers shopping for customers who’d placed orders. “I get it, the store is less crowded, and they’re trying to fulfill all these orders,” he said, “but the theory behind establishing ‘over 60’ hours is to keep a more vulnerable population safer. If you can’t enforce that in a meaningful way, it kind of defeats the purpose.”

Al Lewis of Newton, 64, was disappointed not to be carded at a Stop & Shop in Newton, where he arrived on his bike. “Someone should have been checking; most 64-year-olds don’t show up in bike shorts,” said Lewis, “and there were people there at least as questionable-looking as I was. I gotta tell you, no one is getting their hair colored these days, and theirs was natural.”


How long will lines like that last before there are riots?

Answer: about a month!

Time to take a hit for the team and give them their chunk of flesh:

"Meat industry takes hit as workers refuse to return" by Jen Skerritt and Lydia Mulvany Bloomberg News, May 6, 2020

Meat plants have been at the nexus of coronavirus hot spots across America’s rural heartland. The disease spread through plants in March and April as companies struggled to adapt their workplaces to new rules dictated by the pandemic. As absenteeism persists, the US is at risk of continued meat shortages and higher prices, even after President Trump signed an executive order to keep plants running.

They are drawing and quartering him.

Conditions at US meat plants contributed to increased risk of infections, and ultimately more than 4,900 workers fell ill, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency cited difficulty maintaining social distancing and adhering to the heightened cleaning and disinfection guidance among the factors that increased risks for workers. There were 20 deaths among employees as the virus spread to 115 meat plants across 19 states, data through late April showed.

Unions say many workers fear that new measures companies have put in place, including temperature scanners and face masks, aren’t enough to guarantee their safety as operations resume weeks or in some cases just days after a plant has idled.

Ever hear of an occupational hazard? 

Every job has them.

If you don't want to accept the risk, quit.

“There’s a number of folks who have quit — and there may be others who decide not to go back,” said Kooper Caraway, president of Sioux Falls AFL-CIO, which represents 3,700 workers at Smithfield Foods Inc.’s South Dakota pork plant.....

Then Trump will order 'em back (as blog editor rips into some red meat)!



"Add food habits to list of societal and economic changes wrought by coronavirus lockdowns. Packaged grocery brands that had run up against Americans’ growing preference for fresh and private-label foods are seeing a resurgence as iconic brands like Goldfish, Oreos, Campbell Soup, and Doritos fill the pantries of homebound consumers in search of small pleasures. Major processed food companies such as General Mills, ConAgra, Kellogg, and Campbell’s are among the suppliers whose snacks, canned goods, and frozen food have taken off, often sending their stock prices along for the ride."

Also see:

Black restaurant owners in Boston want to see relief on the menu

You take one look at the menu and wonder where's the beef, and in a new initiative, minority-owned restaurants will help serve meals to those in need.

Of course, it will cost a lot more now:

"The jump in food prices, the largest one-month jump since February 1974, came in a month when more than 20 million Americans lost their jobs, driving one in five households into food insecurity. The increase in food prices was in marked contrast to a broader decline in the basket of goods that makes up the US consumer price index, which fell .8 percent in April, the largest single-month decline since 2008, the Labor Department said...."

$o much for the cheap chicken washed in chlorine:

"US meat plants are changing, signaling end of 99-cent chicken" by Isis Almeida and Jen Skerritt Bloomberg News, May 13, 2020

The human cost of producing 99-cent chickens and affordable burgers during a pandemic is pushing US meatpackers to eye major operational changes that will likely make American meat more costly.

This is now getting damn serious even if the shortages are not showing up yet, and calls for a rewatch of the video above. The destruction of the food supply chain is more frightening than COVID or many other things. They way to a man's heart, right?

Some plants are already running slower than normal to adhere to social distancing, but companies are also considering how best to redesign their operations to prevent infections, including by automating some lines altogether. The likely result: higher costs for an industry dominated by the likes of Tyson Foods and JBS that’s been very efficient at pumping out cheap meat.

Why redesign over a lie? 

This isn't a plane crash, although it kind of is.

The changes are arriving as concerns mount over mega-plants staffed with low-paid workers operating elbow-to-elbow. More than 10,000 meat workers have been infected by the coronavirus, and at least 30 have died, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

‘‘Americans want to buy cheaper and cheaper and cheaper food,’’ said Matthew Wadiak, founder of Cooks Venture, a small chicken producer selling directly to consumers. ‘‘We need to figure out how to pay a little bit more, because what’s the cost of a human life? It’s a lot more than 25 cents at the checkout.’’

Oh, man!

We want the cheap food because we can't afford anything else. The wealth stratification has left us that way, and this puke with a job says what's an extra quarter when the meat worker still has a job (for now).

Workers at meatpacking plants continue to fall ill, even with barriers placed between them, more protective equipment, and enhanced social-distancing measures in common areas including cafeterias and locker rooms.

While President Trump has ordered plants to reopen, many are running at slower-than-usual rates to try to reduce the spread. ‘‘The 99-cents per pound chicken could be in short supply very quickly,’’ according to Sanchoy Das, a professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology whose research focuses primarily on supply chain modeling and analysis.

The bulk of America’s beef and pork are processed in a few dozen giant plants that handle thousands of animals in lines that have been allowed to run faster and faster. Tyson, JBS, and Cargill control about two-thirds of America’s beef. Pork and chicken production is similarly concentrated.

The outbreak could also help accelerate automation plans companies have already in the works. Tyson has said it is investing ‘‘aggressively’’ in automating the most difficult tasks within its plants. The company is installing robots in the deboning areas of its poultry plants, and also has initiatives in beef and pork.

Once again, the blood and guts of COVID are COVER for what they WANTED TO DO ANYWAY!

‘‘You are going to see a bifurcation where the larger, more profitable facilities are going to move toward a vastly more automated meat processing facility,’’ said Decker Walker, an agribusiness expert at Boston Consulting Group. ‘‘Incentives for automation have never been higher.’’


Pilgrim’s Pride was increasing its use of automation and robotics even before the pandemic. The company invested more than $30 million in automation last year, projects that are helping plants to run efficiently in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

More efficiently than a human, and that includes the CEO $uite:

"The chief executive officer of Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., America’s second-biggest chicken producer, was charged by US prosecutors with conspiring to fix prices as part of an antitrust investigation of chicken-processing companies. Jayson Penn was indicted by a grand jury in Colorado along with Roger Austin, a former vice president of the company, the Justice Department said Wednesday. They face a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The allegations against the leader of a top American poultry producer were the latest bombshell to hit the meat industry that’s been reeling from thousands of workers sickened by COVID-19, forcing shutdowns at processing plants. The US government is also probing potential market manipulation at beef processors, who were turning big profits while farmers suffered from plant outages."

Now the $hortages have been cast into doubt! 

It's just a price-gouging effort?

Probably make it into a movie:

"Chicken company Pilgrim’s Pride lost 12.4 percent after its CEO was among several industry executives charged with price fixing by a federal grand jury, and movie theater operator AMC Entertainment fell 2.5 percent after saying it may not survive the coronavirus pandemic, which has shuttered its theaters....."

Let Chez Trump prepare your meal:

"The Trump administration moved forward Friday with plans to scale back a century-old law protecting most American wild bird species despite warnings that billions of birds could die as a result....."

Oh, you wanted fish?

"Overturning one of his predecessor’s more far-reaching environmental measures in New England, President Trump on Friday signed a proclamation allowing commercial fishing in nearly 5,000 square miles of protected waters off Cape Cod. “President Obama swept aside our public, science-based fishery management process with the stroke of a pen,” said Bob Vanasse, executive director of Saving Seafood, a Washington-based group that represents commercial fishermen. “That was a mistake, and whatever anyone thinks about President Trump is irrelevant. Today, he fixed that mistake.” He and others in the fishing industry called Trump’s decision overdue. “This is very welcome news,” said Tim Malley, a vessel manager for Blue Harvest Fisheries in New Bedford....."

Would you like French fries with that (even though there is a link between them and coronavirus deaths)?

‘‘We believe in automation, we believe in robotics, and we’re going to continue to move down that path,’’ chief executive Jayson Penn said in an April 30 call with analysts.

Meat processing is usually a low-margin business, meaning companies will be wary of overspending. While there’s probably going to be a lot of change in the way packers do business, consumers will pay for it in the long run, said Steve Meyer, an economist at consultancy Kerns & Associates.

That's a$$uming we have money to burn.

‘‘This whole system was designed to produce quality products at the most reasonable cost possible, so you don’t go and add a lot of extra cost to go handle a once-in-a-100-year situation,’’ Meyer said, ‘‘but you also don’t turn a blind eye to the fact that people are sick and some people died, so I think there will be some changes made.’’

Another way to reduce infections, especially in poultry plants, would be to produce more whole chickens, as cutting up birds into legs and thighs requires more labor, said Das of the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Consumers in the US can afford to pay a bit more for their meat, said Wadiak of Cooks Venture. That would increase wages and help avoid shared living accommodation, which has been a challenge for meat plant workers looking to adhere to social-distancing practices.

‘‘When the budget is tight, it’s hard to put food on the table, it’s hard to feed your family, I really, really get that,’’ he said, ‘‘but if that means you are putting food on your table at the cost of someone else’s life, it’s not worth it.’’

I'll bet he is eating good with no money problems.

We should eat him.


And when he got there, the cupboard was bare, and when she leaned over (wearing nothing but a Blue Apron), rover took over and gave her a bone of his own:

"More face hunger in Mass. as overwhelmed food pantries close" by Janelle Nanos Globe Staff, May 21, 2020

As the pandemic stretches into its third month, more people in Massachusetts are going hungry. Meanwhile, overwhelmed food pantries have closed and food-distribution networks are in dire need of support.

It's just going to get worse given the destruction of the food supply earlier in this post.

According to research released on Thursday from the nonprofit Feeding America, one in eight people in Eastern Massachusetts is predicted to experience food insecurity in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis. The organization, which represents a network of over 200 US food banks, said this is a 59 percent increase from its most recent pre-pandemic report, which had tallied that 1 in 13 people would be in need this year.

Statewide, the number of those in need has been predicted to increase by 53 percent during the crisis.

The numbers on children are even more dire: Massachusetts overall is projected to experience an 81 percent increase in the number of children at risk of experiencing hunger in 2020; in Eastern Massachusetts it’s 93 percent, or one in six kids.

What would you do to make sure your kids didn't starve?

Would you cower in the house because of the invisible enemy COVID?

Massachusetts is projected to have the second-highest percentage change in the country for children living in food-insecure homes. (North Dakota is first, with a projected 96 percent increase in need.)

That is not counting the homeless kids, right?

“Unfortunately, these new food insecurity projections do not surprise us as we have seen a dramatic increase in the demand for food in our region,” said Catherine D’Amato, CEO of the Greater Boston Food Bank. She said the emergency food network in Eastern Massachusetts, which includes 550 partner agencies, has demonstrated incredible "resiliency during this difficult time and continues to heroically adapt to the needs of an ever-increasing number of people, many of whom have never had to rely on a food pantry for assistance to feed their family.”

Even before the pandemic, Massachusetts was considered the most expensive state in terms of the cost of a meal (Feeding America’s figures tally a meal cost at $3.63.), and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of groceries nationally grew 2.6 percent in April, the biggest increase from one month to the next since 1974.

In March, as the pandemic began to grind the economy to a halt, the Greater Boston Food Bank saw its highest monthly demand for food in its 40-year history and distributed more than 8.1 million pounds of food to pantries and other partners in Eastern Massachusetts, but in April, the demand grew even higher: The food bank distributed 9.5 million pounds of food.

Such demand is playing out statewide, as the number of families and individuals served in March by the state’s food pantries was up 46 percent from a year earlier.

Another sobering statistic: In Massachusetts, the rate of applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, has risen 360 percent since the pandemic began. And those numbers apply only to residents who are qualified. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates 8 percent of Massachusetts residents are noncitizens and therefore do not qualify for traditional safety net programs like SNAP.

In April, Governor Charlie Baker convened a Food Security Task Force to respond to the surging need, and earlier this week he announced Massachusetts would distribute $56 million to support groups working to address food insecurity throughout the state. The funds include $36 million in grants to support the infrastructure for food distribution, $12 million for the distribution of 25,000 family food boxes a week to food pantries throughout the state, $5 million to help promote access to healthy produce for those in need, and $3 million in immediate relief for pantries throughout the region.

“These funds jump-start some of the recommendations to address urgent needs and food supply chain issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic for communities across the Commonwealth,” Baker said. “While COVID-19 has had a statewide impact, some of our communities and residents who have historically experienced food insecurity have been even more disproportionately impacted.”

We ought to eat his criminal a$$ as the pandemic’s economic toll grows.

Among the many troubling findings in the task force’s report: As of May 1, 107 food pantries in the state had closed "due to a variety of reasons, including lack of volunteers, inconsistent access to food, and being not able to handle the overwhelming new needs.” The Greater Boston Food Bank says that several dozen have been able to get back online since the start of the month. Project Bread reported that calls to its FoodSource Hotline have quadrupled since the crisis started.

The task force identified disrupted supply chains, overtaxed relief efforts, and fear of exposure to the virus in high transmission areas as contributing factors.

On Wednesday, several members of the task force wrote to state legislators, pushing them to “invest in increasing access to and utilization of federal nutrition programs,” arguing that SNAP provides $1.70 in economic stimulus for every $1 spent on food.

"The task force was working really fast, and it’s a complicated set of issues, and there were very specific tactical things from members of the committee that we felt still hadn’t been addressed,” said Jen Faigel, the president of CommonWealth Kitchen and a task force member who signed the letter.

She said she’s glad to be part of a group that’s working so hard to address pressing concerns, but as the pandemic lasts, there’s still so much more to do.

“What are we doing to leverage the infrastructure of restaurants and small businesses and caterers to be part of the feeding solution?” she asked. “There is an opportunity to use the crisis as a way to prop up all the businesses and the employees, many of whom are undocumented and those most in need.”

There IS WAY TOO MUCH of that type of TALK in my Globe -- so much so you want to vomit at the deeper agenda being advanced under the cover of (cough) COVID-19!


Look who is coming to the rescue with boodles of fle$h:

"Meat companies get pressure from investors to improve working conditions" by Isis Almeida Bloomberg News, May 21, 2020

Investors are picking a new fight with the world’s biggest meat companies as coronavirus outbreaks sicken thousands of workers.

After tackling issues including the use of antibiotics, animal welfare, and climate change, investors are turning their attention to plants that have become virus hotspots. They want meatpackers to adopt recommendations they say will keep workers safe and mitigate reputational and financial risks.

The investors are urging the likes of Tyson Foods Inc. and JBS SA to take steps including enforcing social distancing, providing personal protective equipment, and opposing any federal or state policies that deny unemployment benefits or stimulus relief to staff that refuse to go back to work due to fear of being infected, according to a statement by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility signed by more than 100 global investors.

They want us starving!

More than 10,000 American meat workers have been infected with the virus, and at least 30 have died, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union estimates. Plant conditions — including difficulty maintaining distancing and adhering to heightened cleaning standards — increased risks for infections, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Major facilities were forced to close, tightening meat supplies and pushing up prices for beef and pork.

Yet no one died the previous week.

“The issues raised in this statement are longstanding engagement themes that weren’t created by — but only exacerbated by — the COVID-19 crisis,” said Nadira Narine, a senior program director at the ICCR in New York. “Companies are quick to publicly champion essential employees’ health and safety as a top priority, but workers on the frontline in the meat sector report feeling more expendable than essential.”

It's typical corporate imagery and public relations. You don't have to bite off their heads.

The pandemic has highlighted worker conditions at slaughterhouses, where cold, damp factories and crowded workstations make infectious diseases particularly hard to control. The jobs are also low-paying and provide few benefits, further underscoring how labor inequality is one of the most significant rifts brought to the fore by COVID-19.

Most of the workers are undocumented and damn near captive.

Is this another roundabout push for illegal amnesty and immigration reform, using COVID as the COVER!?

Three weeks ago, President Trump signed an executive order to keep plants running amid the outbreaks. Since then, more than a dozen facilities have reopened. Union leaders and worker advocates have argued that maintaining production in spite of the outbreaks will lead to more infections.

They are, but slowly.

Investors are also asking for increased worker safeguards, requesting companies to provide more protective gear, including “the most effective respirators available.” The money managers are also advocating to ensure testing is available and asking for an end to lobbying aimed at increasing factory-line speeds.

Thank God for investors who are Zooming right now!

If only these type of measures had been implemented early on, they would have resulted potentially in some lower output numbers for March and April but then you wouldn’t have had the big spikes in COVID-19 incidents,” said Peter van der Werf, senior engagement specialist at Robeco, a Dutch firm with $190 billion under management. Companies would probably also have avoided factory shutdowns, he said.

Of course, he can't prove that and the exact opposite could have happened.

Tyson said that it has put in place additional safeguards, protocols, and guidelines. They include taking temperatures, installing dividers, requiring the use of face coverings and designating monitors to help enforce social distancing.

Even the workplace is a police state!

JBS and its Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. chicken unit said they routinely and transparently engage with investors and have implemented similar measures to keep workers safe in the pandemic.

Look at what they left on the cutting room floor:

Investor pressure on meatpackers isn’t new. Members of the ICCR network have actively engaged with producers for many years and have advocated for less antibiotics use. Some have also addressed animal welfare and water stewardship. More recently, the FAIRR network has been imploring the industry to reduce its carbon footprint.

Oxfam filed similar proposals that didn’t gather enough support at the annual general meetings of Pilgrim’s Pride and Sanderson Farms Inc. earlier this year. The NGO also sent a letter to poultry companies on April 16 requesting measures including paid sick leave, said Alex Galimberti, senior advocacy and collaborations adviser for US domestic programs at Oxfam.

“This sector has a history of not respecting human and worker rights,” Galimberti said. “Its objective has been short-term profit without protecting the long-term sustainability of the sector. Now we see the industry’s fragility.”

All this talk of "human" rights when the industry is engaged in the slaughter of millions of creatures.

Don't get me wrong, I want and need the meat. I've tried veganism and it leaves me wan and lacking in protein and energy. That's another reason the meat supply is being attacked: it will weaken the larger society's defenders, the men folk. Going to have to eat them instead.

Sanderson Farms said it hasn’t received investor pressure regarding worker safety during the pandemic. The company has laid out the steps it’s taking in a call with investors and added that it runs the slowest line speeds in the industry.

Many meat companies still aren’t disclosing the number of cases and deaths associated with their employees, and the executive order has allowed them to operate again after closures had eaten in their earnings. The ICCR statement is directed at the whole industry, but focuses on publicly traded companies.

“We are concerned for the welfare of all essential workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis in Colorado. In particular, given historic health and safety lapses, we are closely monitoring the meat processing facilities statewide,” said Colorado State Treasurer Dave Young. “It would be a grave error to not use this moment to push for systemic reform.”

TOO MANY OTHER AGENDAS being commingled with COVID for it to be about a VIRULENT FLU!


Did you notice that the article did not mention or reference the Holocaust of animals and wasted food?

Oh, yeah, despite the safety measures, meat workers are still getting sick.

That's why GOP senators are begging Trump to import more foreign workers while nearly 40 million Americans are advised to stay in their homes.

I would say let's go out and get something to eat, but.....

"Dozens of TGI Friday’s restaurants won’t reopen as the chain struggles to recover from a drastic sales decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As many as 20 percent of the company’s 386 US locations will likely have to close permanently, chief executive Ray Blanchette said in an interview. The American sit-down dining chain known for burgers, ribs, and shareable appetizers like chicken wings is one of many in the industry struggling to bring in customers who are largely still sheltering at home. The hardship reflects the challenges across the restaurant industry, as companies close stores and try to adapt by shifting to drive-through, pickup, and delivery. Reservation service OpenTable recently projected that a quarter of US restaurants won’t survive the pandemic. When the crisis first hit, sales at TGI Friday’s Inc. dropped by about 80 percent almost immediately, Blanchette said. With the shift to pickup and delivery, revenue has recovered modestly, but is still down about 50 percent, he said. The company has a mix of franchised and corporate-owned locations."

They were frustrated over the fees charged by the delivery service because it's a “bad business practice and based on pure greed.”

I guess we will have to get the groceries from the farmers’ market and cook the meal at home:

"For local farms, the coronavirus outbreak has led to a surge in customers and demand; COVID-19 has been a boon for many New England farms" by Zoe Greenberg Globe Staff, May 23, 2020

They have seen explosive growth, as people rush to farm stands and invest in community-supported agriculture, or CSA, programs.

Across New England, many small farms are experiencing a similar renaissance. Even as they have lost, for now, their institutional and restaurant customers, some farms are ramping up production, expanding old-school farm stands, and even hiring more workers. Intense interest in local food is an unexpected silver lining of the pandemic, farmers say.

It may seem like great things are happening, but that's nuts!

Farms in New England are different than in most other parts of the country, Amato said, because the vast majority have some direct-to-consumer model, which makes them particularly well poised to flourish right now. They also tend to produce a diverse range of crops to minimize risk, Amato said, making them adaptable. Some dairy farms are struggling because they rely on bulk buyers, but there are only about 200 dairy farms in the state. (And at some of those farms, home delivery is booming, with hundreds of people signing up for fresh milk and eggs).

Governor Baker, in his late March order closing all nonessential businesses, deemed farmers markets and farm stands essential, guaranteeing that they could remain open throughout the pandemic (most farmers markets in the state open in June), and so even though the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition made dire predictions of an almost $700 million decline in farm sales across the country in the early part of the year, many New England farms have so far managed to ward off disaster — and even, unexpectedly, to thrive.

Jamie Cruz, whose family has run SpringDell Farm in Littleton for nearly a century, has found the surge thrilling, if at times puzzling. “It was wild to see some of the people who have never turned to local food,” she said, recalling customers who told her, “I never even knew I had any farms in my backyard, until I was like, oh my gosh, where am I going to get this food?”

I do every summer. 


Since the coronavirus hit, customers have flooded the farm stand at the front of Cruz’s property, prompting her to source some unlikely products to please them — like pineapple.

“We’re usually very seasonal,” she said, laughing. In addition to locally grown radishes, asparagus, baby kale, and other produce, the stand also sells some upscale and out-of-season products, including lemons and limes, soy candles, fair-trade coffee, and gluten-free pasta. A sign out front bears the farm’s tongue-in-cheek motto: “Keep your friends close & your food supply closer.”

Like in your backyard (wink)!

Farms in Massachusetts produce less than 5 percent of food consumed in the state, Amato said, and the current growth in sales is primarily fueled by more affluent customers, who can afford to pay higher prices for fresher greens.

That sound you heard was your stomach rumbling from hunger.

Many small farms, including Siena and SpringDell, have begun sourcing more items from other farms and local producers to meet growing demand, especially since not much is ready to harvest so early in the spring. In their spring pantry farm share, Siena Farms includes homemade tortillas from Mi Tierra Tortillas in Hadley, apples from Carlson Orchards in Harvard, Mass., and fresh-baked bread from Iggy’s in Cambridge.....


While the article seems positive and reads like a feel-good puff piece, the implications are clear. The city folk will be demanding more from the rural folk, and Baker will end up collectivism the farms as did the Soviet Union!

Ready for coffee and desert?

"Starbucks is seeking rent relief. The Seattle-based coffee chain said Tuesday that it’s in talks with landlords for potential lease concessions and expects to pay reduced rents after the coronavirus pandemic passes. Still, the company is current on its rent bills, according to chief financial officer Patrick Grismer, even as many of its stores remain closed. Starbucks closed roughly half of its 8,900 US company-operated locations in March and has plans to open as many as possible with modified operations beginning May 4."

The cup is only half full!

"A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Ben & Jerry’s that alleged that the ice cream maker and its parent company misled consumers by saying the milk and cream in its products comes from “happy cows.” In a complaint filed Oct. 29, 2019, in Burlington, Vt., where Ben & Jerry’s was founded, environmental advocate James Ehlers said that many of the farms that produce the milk and cream are factory-style, mass production dairy operations and only some are part of the company’s “Caring Dairy” program. US District Judge Christina Reiss on Thursday threw out the lawsuit, saying Ben & Jerry’s, owned by the multinational firm Unilever, did not claim that all its milk comes from farms enrolled in Caring Dairy, Vermont Public Radio reported. She also noted that Ben & Jerry’s no longer uses the “happy” cow label on its ice cream cartons."

I stopped buying their ice cream when they sold it to that conglomerate. It froze my heart and it has remained unmelted ever since.