The Coronavirus and the Food Supply Chain

By Ellen M. Bruno, Richard J. Sexton, and Daniel A. Sumner

The spread of COVID-19, and the public responses and policies it has engendered, have interrupted some food availability and prompted concerns among consumers about the reliability of the food supply chain. Some farm producers have faced plummeting prices, while some prices, especially at retail, have spiked. We seek to explain what has been happening within the food supply chain and what is likely to happen as society deals with the pandemic and its aftermath. Our main conclusion is that, despite worrisome but understandable disruptions, the food system in the United States is resilient and there is little reason for alarm about food availability.

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