Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried said Friday the state’s food supply “is steady” and that consumers will soon find toilet paper, paper towels and other similar products re-stocked on store shelves.
Fried said that “hoarding” by state consumers has slowed as their fear of an extended coronavirus shut-in period has not materialized.
“Everyone believed they were going to be locked in their homes for months ahead,” she said. But now, Fried said, people understand that shelter-in-place restrictions allow them to go to retail stores, which remain open.
That’s slowed panic buying, allowing manufacturers and distributors to catch up. Publix, which generally sends two truckloads to each region daily, has upped shipments to as many as eight times a day, she said.
“You’re going to see the items restocked,” Fried said.
Fried added there has not been a disruption in the food supply, either. And she insisted she does not forecast shortages of key staples.
But Fried said the food supply chain could be impacted if workers at production facilities became ill and force those businesses to close or limit their operations.
Speaking at a Business Development Board of Palm Beach County conference call, Fried did not address the crisis at a Smithfield Foods, Inc., South Dakota pork processing plant. The facility closed after workers became infected, and Smithfield has warned the ripple effects could affect the country’s meat supply.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent a team to the facility in Sioux Falls on this week to assist in designing a plan to safely reopen the plant.
Palm Beach Post