Higher Retail Meat Prices Reduced Household Economic Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic

October 6, 2022 Xiao Dong, USDA ERS

Retail meat prices rose almost 7 percent in 2020 as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic changed the economic landscape in the United States. Meatpacking plants were forced to close temporarily during spring and summer of 2020 when workers tested positive for COVID-19, while other plants had to reduce capacity. This disruption led to a drop in U.S. meat production and increased meat prices for U.S households. At the same time, restaurant restrictions put in place during the pandemic shifted consumer purchasing patterns toward more food at home, leading to an increase in the amount of meat households bought from grocery stores.

Food-Safety Practices and Rule Coverage Vary Among Post-Harvest Handlers of Fresh Produce, ERS Survey Finds

September 8, 2022 USDA ERS

In produce, the supply chain is made up of a diverse variety of operations, some of which were more prepared for the new food safety rules than others.

No Picture

Researchers Develop Method to Estimate Economic Impact of Foodborne Illness Outbreak Response

September 6, 2022 Sandra Hoffmann, Amber Waves

Despite extensive efforts to keep pathogens out of the U.S. food supply, outbreaks of foodborne disease still occur. They are stopped through public health investigations and timely response. State departments of public health maintain surveillance for these outbreaks and act in coordination with other States to assure vendors and manufacturers remove contaminated product from the market. Prompt actions minimize the number of illnesses caused by these events. The investigations used to identify and control outbreaks also provide the food industry with important information to improve their processes.

Adjusting to Higher Labor Costs in Selected U.S. Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Industries

This report examines how U.S. producers of selected labor-intensive fresh fruit and vegetables are addressing the rising costs of labor. Farm labor costs increased from 2010-19 for several reasons, including fewer newly-arrived unauthorized workers, rising State minimum wages, and new requirements to pay overtime wages to some farm workers.

COVID-19 Economic Implications for Agriculture, Food, and Rural America: Food and Consumers

July 12, 2022 USDA ERS

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic led to significant changes in U.S. consumers’ food spending patterns in early 2020, with a return to pre-pandemic spending patterns that continued through 2021. While closures of restaurants and nonessential businesses contributed to record unemployment increases during March and April 2020, unemployment fell to below pre-pandemic levels by December 2021. Although income and employment improved, some U.S. households continue to face difficulties obtaining adequate food, particularly in the face of increasing food prices.