McDonald’s decision to close all of its restaurants in the U.K. and Ireland due to coronavirus concerns is causing the Irish beef sector to suffer.
Tim Cullinan, president of the Irish Farmers’ Association, said the chain’s closures have greatly affected the food services industry.
“McDonald’s is an important buyer of Irish beef. Its closure is a big blow to the sector,”
He added: “Unfortunately, it is reflective of what is happening across Europe where closures have had an impact on the foodservice sector.”
The fast-food chain temporarily closed its U.K. and Ireland restaurants on Monday, March 23.
“I have been clear throughout this that we would only continue to operate whilst it was safe for our people and together with our franchisees,” Paul Pomroy, McDonald’s UK and Ireland CEO, said in a statement.
“We feel now is the time to make this decision to temporarily close,” he added.
The chain had previously remained open for delivery, takeout, and drive-through options only.
Meat And Dairy Industries Impacted By Coronavirus
The Irish meat industry isn’t the only sector suffering major setbacks amid the coronavirus crisis. The current pandemic is greatly impacting the livestock industry worldwide.
A new report from Rabobank revealed China’s dairy imports are expected to decrease by 19 percent this year. The Dutch multinational banks said the current coronavirus outbreak has caused a major decline in demand for dairy. The dairy industry even issued new consumption guidelines in order to help increase demand for milk.
In the U.S., slaughterhouses are also struggling to remain open. In an attempt to reassure meat producers, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced slaughterhouses across the country would still be staffed with federal inspectors.
“It is more important than ever that we assure the American public that government and industry will take all steps necessary to ensure continued access to safe and wholesome USDA-inspected products,” the USDA said in a statement.
“Know that USDA remains committed to working closely with industry to fulfill our mission of ensuring the safety of the U.S. food supply and protecting agricultural health,” the USDA added.