Apr 17, 2020 - Economy & Business

Pork and beef prices surge as meat plants shutter due to coronavirus

A person in the meat section of a grocery store.
Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Hundreds of meat plant workers across the country have fallen ill with the coronavirus, leading to a slowdown in output and surge in prices.

By the numbers, per Bloomberg: The price of wholesale pork rose by 7.2% to 55.86 cents a pound Thursday — the largest increase in more than two years. Choice-grade beef prices rose to a one-month high of $2.36 a pound, climbing for six straight days through Thursday.

The increase in prices comes as Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, announced three plant closures in recent days. Among those are a pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., At least 644 cases of the virus have been traced back to the plant.

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