Chicken may be ‘wiped out’ from shelves by end of summer, says Roberts

   Chicken may be ‘wiped out’ from shelves  by end of summer, says Roberts

Rupert Roberts

NASSAU, The Bahamas--Super Value’s principal said that the bird flu pandemic in the United States (US) may “wipe out” chicken and turkey from shelves by the end of this summer.

Rupert Roberts told “Guardian Business” that prices have remained relatively stable during the early part of the summer months, but he is watching a few international matters that may impact prices and supply during the next few months.

“I see the bird flu and something else is going to, not start a chicken shortage, but it is going to wipe out chicken and turkey. Our suppliers have not said anything about that, but that’s what they are expecting in the world, that there is going to be no supply in chickens and turkey.”

“The Guardian” newspaper in the United Kingdom (UK) has reported that avian influenza was detected among chickens in Texas and Michigan, following news of the virus infecting livestock and then a person for the first time in the US, and potentially leading to supply chain issues.

The report also said that Cal-Maine Foods, the largest producer of fresh eggs in the US, has temporarily halted production at a Texas facility and is killing 1.6 million hens and 337,000 chicks – 3.6% of its entire flock – after discovering the highly pathogenic virus among its domesticated birds.

Roberts added: “Scientists in the US expect that chicken and turkey will go off the market completely, that’s scary. Bird-flu has hit Texas, but we deal with a friend of ours who owns 30 layers on the East Coast that serves Florida, the cruise ships, The Bahamas and Puerto Rico, and that’s where we buy our eggs, and I saw they lost millions of chicks to bird flu in Texas, but it hasn’t affected us.”

Chicken supplies have not been disrupted yet and turkey supplies have remained stable at the food retailer, because turkey is sourced out of Brazil, which is becoming a major trading partner, Roberts said.

“I predict, from what I see, within the next five years the country’s major supplier will be Brazil, and not the US. They are going to have everything from ketchup and mayonnaise. They have all the vegetables from beets to corn and of course corned beef. Brazil has been holding down inflation for us in the country.”

Roberts said he predicts prices will increase for chicken because China is also buying a lot of poultry from Brazil, and it affects the price.

“At times of the year, China buys Brazil beef frozen, so the price of corned beef goes up too. But right now, corned beef is steady in Brazil, but the freight is crazy.”

Container rates are still fluctuating and are expected to put pressure on produce and non-produce items in the stores. Roberts predicts that within the next few months, current international container prices will be on the shelves in all the food stores, but as of now, things are “steady.”

“Prices are holding steady for now, but we are watching things happening around the world to ensure that our customers are protected at the cash register.” ~ The Nassau Guardian ~

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