Food safety is a major concern in the food industry. COVID-19 has created a new and important step in ensuring that the food we eat is safe to consume. The COVID-19 is impacting every step of the food industry, from the fields where our products are grown to the transportation for delivery. COVID-19 is now affecting the processing plants that produce the packaging and the local delivery services transporting the products to the grocery warehouses or restaurants where the food products are prepared. It’s hard to find a step in the process that is not affected by COVID-19, and the Omicron variant has a substantial impact. The impacts are multifaceted as they impact the price and the availability of the goods. This week and last week, many stories have run regarding the empty grocery store shelves. Additional reports are now emerging has to price increases for food and related commodities. Some of these increases are the largest we have seen in many years. When will the tide change? And we see better availability and lower prices again. The quick answer is not soon. These things are related to the rapid rise in infection rates of the Omicron COVID variant.
The shortage of employees everywhere has impacted every facet of the food production industry. It is hard to imagine how significant an impact this has had. And it’s hard to imagine when it will be over.