Beer, milk, and produce: All the food that’s been dumped during the pandemic

dairy farmers dump milk coronavirusdairy farmers dump milk coronavirus

Ryan Eble and his father Chris talk in their milk house while fresh milk gushes down a drain at the Eble family’s Golden E Dairy farm near West Bend, Wisconsin, April 1, 2020.

Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/USA TODAY via REUTERS


  • The coronavirus pandemic has massively disrupted supply chains for many consumer goods. 
  • In many cases, this has meant that farmers and other producers of consumable items have had to ditch excess inventory. 
  • Milk, vegetables, and beer are among the products being destroyed by their producers. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on food supply chains. 

Even as major grocery chains struggle to keep staples in stock, supply-chain issues mean that farmers across the country have been forced to destroy excess stock that would usually go to restaurants, hotels, schools, and theme parks.  

Some farmers have said they are planning to donate inventory to food banks. Southeastern grocer Publix announced this week it would buy milk and produce from farmers and donate it to Feeding America food banks. 

Here are the products that have faced issues during the coronavirus outbreak so far: 

Milk

dairy farmers dump milk coronavirus

Ryan Eble and his father Chris talk in their milk house while fresh milk gushes down a drain at the Eble family’s Golden E Dairy farm near West Bend, Wisconsin, April 1, 2020.

Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/USA TODAY via REUTERS


Dairy farmers across the US have had to dump thousands of gallons of milk due to disruptions in the supply chain. 

“Mass closures of restaurants and schools have forced a sudden shift from those wholesale food-service markets to retail grocery stores, creating logistical and packaging nightmares for plants processing milk, butter and cheese,” Reuters’ P.J. Huffstutter reported.

Berries

Strawberry farm mexico



Edgard Garrido/Reuters


Driscoll’s president Soren Bjorn told Business Insider’s Irene Jiang earlier this month that the company would have to let 10-15% of its berry crop “end up in the ditch” if it could not get government funding to donate it to food banks. Berries typically hit peak production in May. 

“That could be berries that would not get picked and never make it to the market,” Bjorn said. “We think that by far, the best thing that could happen is that that product makes its way to the food banks. And that will require some financial assistance from the government.”

Eggs

FILE PHOTO: A vendor arranges eggs for sale at Senen traditional market in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 2, 2019. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

A vendor arranges eggs for sale at Senen traditional market in Jakarta

Reuters


The New York Times reported that chicken processor Sanderson Farms has had to destroy 750,000 unhatched eggs weekly as its usual restaurant supply chain has been disrupted. Those destroyed eggs get sent to a plant where they are turned into pet food.

Onions

Habit burger grill onion rings



Irene Jiang / Business Insider


The closure of restaurants around the country has impacted certain crops in different ways. 

The New York Times reported that an onion farmer in Idaho has had to bury one million pounds of onions in a large ditch. 

“People don’t make onion rings at home,” the farmer, whose largest customer is the restaurant industry, told the Times.

Pigs

FILE PHOTO: Pigs are seen in a pig farm in Bouille-Menard, France, April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

FILE PHOTO: Pigs are seen in a pig farm in Bouille-Menard, France

Reuters


With a loss of restaurant and international buyers and the shuttering of some pork packaging plants, hog farmers are facing a glut. 

These farmers may have to consider euthanizing baby pigs, Business Insider’s Kate Taylor reported. 

“The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said … that farmers will lose almost $37 per hog and almost $5 billion collectively for every hog marketed for the rest of 2020, citing economists Dr. Dermot Hayes and Dr. Steve Meyer. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the NPPC said analysts predicted farmers would earn roughly $10 per hog,” Taylor wrote. 

Tomatoes, green beans, cabbage, and other produce

FILE PHOTO:  Tomatoes are displayed at a vegetable stall in La Merced market, downtown Mexico City January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo

Tomatoes are displayed at a vegetable stall in La Merced market, downtown Mexico City

Reuters


Farmers in the Southeast have plowed over crops of tomatoes, cabbage, green beans, zucchini and other produce that are typically harvested this time of year.

Many have been left to rot in the fields.

Beer

FILE PHOTO: A pint of beer is poured into a glass in a bar in London, Britain June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: A pint of beer is poured into a glass in a bar in London

Reuters


Distributed draft beer sales have taken a dramatic hit amid the coronavirus. Taprooms and breweries may have to dump unconsumed beer that has gotten past its best-buy date as on-site visits have been prohibited. 

“We’re looking at a lot of kegs in my distributor’s warehouse that are getting to that point where we have to look at options, and the top option is to dump it all,” Jamie Tenny, co-owner of Coast Brewing Company in North Charleston, South Carolina, told The Post and Courier. “Actually, there are no [other] options.”

Brewers are being encourage to repurpose unsold beer into hand sanitizer production if feasible, according to the Brewers Association

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