How metro meat supplies are preparing in case there’s more panic buying

With COVID spiking across country, concern grows for people working in meat factories

COBB COUNTY, Ga — We are already starting to see panic buying at metro Atlanta stores. Of course, toilet paper and cleaning supplies are hot-ticket items.

What about the food your family eats from the meat section?

Channel 2′s Chris Jose learned there are options for people if we do see shortages. On Wednesday, Jose did not see any limits or meat shortages at supermarkets in Cobb County.

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While Kroger, Publix and Walmart have limits and shortages on items like paper goods and cleaning supplies, there are no quantity limits on meat.

If we do see disruptions, Jose said you can get high-end, restaurant quality meat straight from the supplier.

“Consumer demand for red meat is up! No doubt it,” Steve Ginsburg, vice president of sales at Halperns’ Steak and Seafood said. “All center of the plate proteins is what we do.”

Wearing full PPE, Ginsburg gave Jose a tour of the 110,000 square foot, state of the art facility in College Park.

Jose got a look at the aging room, a dry age room with thousands of pounds of meat, the cutting room floor, packaging and distribution line.

The purveyor distributes to restaurants, country clubs, hotels and resorts all over the country.

When those businesses temporarily closed, Halperns’ started to sell directly to the consumer.

The company held drive-thru sidewalk sales over the summer. Today, consumers can buy directly food from Halperns’ online, The meat is delivered right to you door.

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“Tremendous amount of receiving each and every day. Everything is scanned in and everything is scanned out,” Ginsburg said.

With COVID-19 cases rising, Jose asked Halperns’ president Ray Hicks if he anticipates shortages.

“Can you get enough of tenderloin? Sure. Can you get top sirloin? Sure. You may not get the trim level that you want. They don’t want do that much further of the fabrication in the plants because of workforce limitations,” said Hicks. “Supply is OK. You can find meat and that was not the case five months ago.”

Overall, Hicks told Jose the plants have done a good job following safety protocols to ensure plenty of meat is available. At Halperns’, Jose saw employees wearing masks and working at a safe social distance. Everyone is screened and temperature checked before they can enter the facility.

Hicks said early in the pandemic, retailers and the food service industry scrambled to get product.

“We can get product today,” said Hicks. “This industry has been hit really hard. I see us rebounding. It’s not going to happen overnight. There’s a light at the end of tunnel.”

With COVID spiking across country, concern grows for people working in meat factories