Australia faces meat shortages as abattoirs are hit with coronavirus outbreaks – while KFCs are forced to CLOSE after running out of chicken
- Australia faces meat shortages after coronavirus outbreaks at abattoirs worsen
- Processing plant closures could have a knock-on effect, an expert has warned
- Abattoir Cedar Meats Brooklyn on Friday confirmed a worker tested positive
- Three Dandenong South abattoir workers have also tested positive to the virus
- It comes as KFC stores were forced to close in Victoria due to chicken shortages
Australians could soon face meat shortages as coronavirus outbreaks continue to affect abattoirs and meat processing plants, an expert has claimed.
Patrick Hutchinson, the chief executive of the Australian Meat Industry Council, warned that closures could have a knock-on effect across the industry.
On Friday, the coronavirus-stricken abattoir Cedar Meats confirmed that another employee had tested positive for COVID-19 after working on July 22.
It comes after 111 workers and close contacts of the Melbourne abattoir were forced to self-isolate in April after being diagnosed with the virus.
Abattoir Cedar Meats Brooklyn (pictured) confirmed that a worker had tested positive to the virus on Friday. They last worked at the site on July 22
Three Australian Meat Group abattoir workers in Dandenong South have also tested positive to COVID-19.
‘The impacts of any potential closures of processing plants has a flow through effect to our wholesalers and retail network chains, which ultimately affects our farmers and producers,’ Mr Hutchinson said, the Herald Sun reported.
‘We are an essential service feeding Victorians and Australians through independent retail and supermarket chains, and the global community, daily. We take this very seriously.’
Three Australian Meat Group abattoir workers in Dandenong South (pictured) have tested positive to COVID-19
A coronavirus cluster in Melbourne has also forced some KFC stores to close and left others with reduced stock. Picture: A KFC store at Glen Waverley
A coronavirus cluster in Melbourne has also forced some KFC stores to close and left others with reduced stock.
‘Our chicken supply has been disrupted in Victoria this week and some of our restaurants will only be open for limited hours or may have to close this weekend,’ a KFC Australia spokesperson told 7NEWS on Friday.
‘We’re sorry for any issues this causes our customers – we’re doing everything we can to help our suppliers get back on track.’
KFC Australia was unable to specify which stores have closed or were affected.
A chicken processing facility shut down in Melbourne last week after five workers tested positive to COVID-19.
All 200 staff at Ingham’s Thomastown processing plant were stood down with pay and production has stopped until further notice.
The company has production and processing facilities in five Australian states.
All others remain open, and supply in these locations has not been affected.
Commenting on the outbreaks at meatworks, Australian Meat Industry Employees Victorian secretary Paul Conway said it was due to the proximity of workers.
Victorian Transport Association chief executive Peter Anderson warned testing would threaten Australia’s national road freight network. Pictured: A truck arriving at Cedar Meats in Melbourne
‘Anywhere where there is workers that work closely (the virus) will fly through the workforce quicker than other places,’ he told the Herald Sun.
Victorian Transport Association chief executive Peter Anderson warned supermarket shelves, housing other goods, could also be affected if the Australian Government continues to stand by its decision to test truck drivers entering from Victoria.
He warned testing all drivers would threaten Australia’s national road freight network, with 650,000 tonnes of supplies crossing the NSW and SA borders with Victoria each day.
NSW, however, on Friday backflipped on mandatory COVID-19 testing for truck drivers entering the coronavirus-infected state.
‘This will mean people won’t get food. This will mean buildings won’t get built. There will be gaps on shelves and people will go into a panic because they’ll say – there is no rice, no flour, what am I going to do?’ he told The Australian.