You might be begging for your bacon soon; industry experts are starting to worry about US supplies of pork, chicken and beef, due to COVID-19.
As of April 16th, South Dakota reported a COVID outbreak of 598 workers at Smithfield Foods, a pork processing facility in Sioux Falls responsible for 5% of U.S. pork production, causing the plant to close indefinitely. The Chinese-owned company released a statement that “the virus is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply, making it impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running.”
Several other U.S. meat processing plants have also closed temporarily, including a Tyson Foods plant in Iowa, and a JBS USA Colorado factory, which both had two deaths.
Part of the problem may be the high concentration of the U.S. meat industry in the hands of a few. Four companies control 80% of the beef industry. Five companies control about 60% of the chicken market, and four companies control nearly 70 percent of pork.
Oh darn, we might run out of meat.
The Food Party! isn't crying over closures, or spilt milk in the news however. On the contrary, we feel empowered. Most Americans need to cut down on meat. (On average, we ate more than 217 pounds of beef, pork and/or chicken in 2019 (over 4 pounds weekly). Time to learn more about the secrets of vegetables and the endless options, and unique tastes and textures achieved when incorporating more plants into your diet.
Decreasing or eliminating animal flesh, while increasing plant consumption, is better for our health, and as many are realizing, also the health of animals and our planet. Actually, one of the best things you can do as an individual for the environment begins on your breakfast, lunch and dinner plates. With the 50th anniversary of Earth Day coming next week, April 22nd, consider using this time to flex your plant-based cooking muscles and create more meals with less, or no, meat.
Graphic from Cool Cuisine – Taking the Bite out of Global Warming (2008)
Track results of your meat-free days by joining the Darwin Challenge (and local environmental group [www.acterra.org/healthy-plate).
We also have all kinds of recipes, diatribes, and options at the Food Party! to help:
What's the Hottest Trend in Eating?
Global Warming Diet
The Impossible Burger
City Supper – the Future of Food
Burger Please, Side of Integrity
Oom is Moo Spelled Backwards
Lastly, Insider Tips, our new, weekly feature for those stuck in the house, can also assist.
Inside Tip #3
I gave some of the sauerkraut (and juice) we made last week to a client, leaving me with some partially fermented cabbage, sans juice. I could have topped off with salt water to keep fermenting, but instead chose to sautéed it up with raw onion,
And made a quick dinner topping for my frozen Trader Joes veggie wontons.
Add a splash EZ Seasoning (salt and pepper with a college education) of umeboshi vinegar, mirin, brown rice vinegar and soy sauce, and you got an easy, filling meal with the perfect touch of sour pucker power. Top with sauted seitan, tempeh or chicken for your protein kick.
Photos by LSIC