The Grapevine

Coronavirus In California City: 9 Facilities, Including Food Processing Plants, Report Outbreaks

More food processing plants are getting shut down and this could lead to dire consequences. Aside from questions surrounding the availability of food supplies, the looming possibility of price increases has grown large. Over in California City, nine industrial facilities could end up temporarily ceasing operations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

ABC News reported that some industrial facilities are being monitored with at least one food processing plant having at least 153 positive COVID-19 cases of 1,837 employees. It appears the largest outbreak is from the Farmer John meatpacking plant in Vernon, California, which is owned by Smithfield Foods, the largest pork supplier in the United States. They offered free COVID-19 testing to all their employees and have been following measures to help in containing the virus from spreading. Tests were carried out from March to May. As of this writing, 41 of those 153 positive cases have returned to work.

However, there are other facilities with reported outbreaks. The list includes Cal Farms Meat Company, CLW, F. Gavina & Sons Inc., Golden West Trading, Overhill Farms, Rose & Shore, Takaokaya USA and Vie De France Yamazaki. A disruption in operations looms and such could have a deep impact on the consumer market.

With lesser supplies, groceries and other outlets may be forced to raise commodity prices. Shortages of items are likely to occur as well, with most people trying to stock up on their end while restricted at homes. According to Good Morning America, grocery bills have shot up by 2.6 percent in April alone. It was the biggest monthly increase in nearly 50 years. Prices of fresh beef and chicken also shot up by 11.9 percent and 7.5 percent when compared to their prices the previous year.

"What we're seeing is the high prices, shortages in some commodities and this will continue," Nick Vyas, the executive director of Center for Global Supply Chain Management at the University of Southern California, said. "This impact will likely outlast the virus itself."

In a previous post, it was reported how Clark County had to postpone its plans to move to phase 2 of its reopening plans after 38 people tested positive for the COVID-19 strain at the Firestone Pacific Foods. The plant was ordered closed and the same fate awaits the food processing plants in California City. Most are expected to be shut down for days or even weeks to slow or stop the coronavirus from spreading.

Processed meats Processed meats are displayed in a grocery store on October 26, 2015 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images