Retail

Costco Sets 3-Item Limit For Fresh Meat Products

Costco store

Costco is the latest retailer to limit fresh meat purchases because of processing plant slowdowns during the coronavirus pandemic.

In an announcement on Monday (May 4), the Washington-based retailer said shoppers cannot buy more than three items of beef, pork and poultry products to help ensure more members are able to purchase the items.

“Costco has implemented limits on certain items to help ensure more members are able to purchase merchandise they want and need,” the warehouse club wrote on its Updates and Coronavirus Response page, Fox News reported. “Our buyers and suppliers are working hard to provide essential, high demand merchandise as well as everyday favorites.”

Last week, Costco announced that customers would be required to wear face masks starting on Monday. The company had also limited the number of guests a member could bring into the store to one.

Kroger, one of the nation’s largest supermarket chains, last week added purchase limits on ground beef and fresh pork in some stores, CNN reported. The retailer did not specify which stores or the limits.

The limits come days after the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union estimated 20 meatpacking and food processing workers have died so far, the network reported. As a result, the union said factory closures have resulted in a 25 percent reduction in pork slaughter capacity and 10 percent reduction in beef slaughter.

Despite an executive order by President Donald Trump for plants to stay open, Smithfield Foods and one Tyson Foods operation have been forced to close in response to coronavirus outbreaks or staffing issues created by the crisis.

“It’s down across the board right now, so the next couple of weeks we should see how the system works,” Sarah Little, a spokeswoman for the North American Meat Institute, told Fox News. “It’s never been tested like this before.”

Tyson Foods warned Monday that it expects more meat plant closures this year. The company also said it will continue producing less meat than usual, as workers refrain from coming to work during the outbreak. The pandemic has halved the amount of pork processing capacity in the country, Tyson said in its earnings call.

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