Food Economist Consulted on Meat Plant Transformation

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Prof. Mike von MassowProf. Mike von Massow, a food economist in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, spoke with the Financial Post about how the pandemic could change Canada’s meat processing industry.

Von Massow, who studies the structure and performance of food supply chains, said he had little doubt the pandemic will leave lasting changes to the industry. One of those changes could be on the production line, to ensure more distancing between employees who currently work closely together.

“It’ll have to change to mitigate the spread of infection between employees, which is something we’ve never had to think about before. Can we do it within the plants we have? I don’t think we know that yet,” he said.

Von Massow also spoke with Alberta Farmer on the need for change in meat processing facilities.

“Without a doubt, we will see more of a call for diversification in processing,” he said. But he added he doesn’t think moving to a model with several small regional abattoirs will solve all problems, noting that many small plants have been forced to close over the years.

“The reason we don’t have those plants is because they are less competitive,” he said.

An expert on the economics of the food system, von Massow is available to talk to media about the impact of the pandemic on the food supply system.