Coronavirus food shortages not happening, Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue says

US has 'plenty of food,' Perdue says

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Bare store shelves aren’t a sign that there’s a shortage of food in the United States, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said.

Perdue, who joined President Trump at the White House coronavirus news briefing Wednesday, said that empty shelves are “a demand issue, not a supply issue.”

“In the United States, we have plenty of food for all of our citizens,” Perdue said.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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Many Americans have stocked up their kitchens amid the coronavirus pandemic as health experts have advised social distancing and staying at home as crucial to stopping the virus’s spread. Perdue noted there had been a “misalignment between institutional settings and grocery settings” that left some items out of stock at stores even as farmers dumped food that had been intended for restaurants.

“But that does not mean that we don’t have enough food in this country to feed the American people,” he said.

Perdue compared the situation to a backup on a long stretch of an interstate caused by a crash in one location.

President Donald Trump listens as Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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“That’s what happened in the food supply chain, but we’re working through that,” he said.

There were more than 634,000 cases of coronavirus in the U.S. as of Wednesday.

Earlier, Perdue had tweeted about working to reopen a South Dakota pork plant “ASAP” after it had been closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak that infected hundreds of employees. Local officials had previously called for the plant to close for as long as two weeks.

However, Purdue tweeted it’s necessary to reopen the plant “to help minimize disruptions to our critical food supply chain, while making sure employees working there are safe.”

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