COLUMBIA, S.C. — Concern over the coronavirus has made some items difficult to get.
Cleaning products, toilet paper and now a growing concern that meat products may be the next items in limited supply with demand high and some meat processors limiting production to curb the spread of COVID-19.
In Columbia, some restaurants have reported concerns.
Staff at Pawleys Front Porch, a burger joint in the city's Five Point's District, say they're experiencing a shortage in beef due to a lack of availability from suppliers.
"We're serving six ounce patties as opposed to eight ounces," Anastasia Cook, one of their managers, said. "We're actually looking at rolling-out some sort of new type of menu items like Po'Boy's when we get to the point where we don't have any more beef to be a burger joint."
It's not just restaurants. The meat section in some grocery stores hasn't been fully stocked in weeks, according to some consumers, but experts say there's no reason for consumers to worry.
In a statement to News 19, a spokesperson with the U.S. Department of Agriculture said:
“The bare store shelves you see in some cities in the country are a demand issue, not a supply issue. The way that food is prepared and packaged to be sold to a restaurant or school is significantly different than the way it’s packaged for you to buy in the grocery store. Our food supply chain needs time to adjust to these changes that have happened in a very short period of time."
They went on to say:
"President Trump issued an executive order declaring that meat and poultry processors meet newly established criteria under the Defense Production Act. Under the order, the Department of Agriculture is directed to ensure America’s meat and poultry processors are able to continue to operate uninterrupted to the maximum extent possible.”
Despite some grocers in short supply, there is enough food in this country to feed the American people, according to the USDA.