There have been rumors of a meat shortage since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Lending truth to the rumors is the reports that some of the larger meat production plants have shut down. Rather than panic at the thought of a nationwide meat shortage, we can take this opportunity to prepare. There are plenty of ways to use less meat in your favorite recipes. Plus, you can look into alternative sources of meat that many people aren’t aware of. Instead of feeling stress about being able to feed your family, stay informed with current information, and be prepared in case of an actual meat shortage.
Reasons for a meat shortage
Some of the country’s largest meat processing plants have dealt with closings due to employees being infected by Covid-19. Factories are trying to keep up with demand while still maintaining safety standards for their employees and their products. For a current map of the meat production facilities that are closed in the United States and Canada, you can check the Meat+Poultry website. In mid-March, President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act. This act, which was first written into law in 1950, was designed for use in emergency situations to give the federal government more control over industrial production. The main goal with the DPA is to reduce supply chain issues so that meat and other essential products are able to reach the consumers. But meat production facilities are still struggling with processing meat and shipping it to the stores in a timely manner.
Make the most of what you have
Many meat-centric recipes can be altered to use less meat with the addition of beans and lentils. This works especially well in tacos, burritos, and even meatloaf. If you worry that your family won’t like the texture of the beans and lentils, you can mash them so they mix easier with the meat for a more consistent texture. Soups and stews are also great meals to make when meat is limited. You can add extra vegetables and use rice and pasta for a heartier dish. One of the best ways to use whole chickens and other meats with bones is to make bone broth. Not only is it healthy, but it also prevents waste.
Alternative Meat Sources
If your grocery store isn’t stocking the meat you normally buy, think of alternate sources to purchase meat. Many small farms sell directly to consumers. If you have the space for it, you can often buy half a cow, half a pig, and large quantities of chicken from farms in your area. Some even ship nationwide. The EatWild website is an excellent source to help you find farms in your area. Meat selections range from your basic beef and pork to wild game like elk and venison. An added benefit of using these sources is that many of the small farms pasture-raise their animals and use humane slaughtering methods.
Currently, whether we will experience a nationwide meat shortage is still unknown. But panic buying in preparation is not necessarily the answer. It’s important to stay informed with current information on meat availability. Learn ways to use the meat you have so that it lasts longer and seek out local farms as an alternative source of meat. Keep in mind that this uncertainty is temporary and life will return to normal. Eventually, we can all look back on this as a time that made us more resilient and better prepared for potential emergencies in the future.