Bessie Box

Beef and COVID: Should you be worried?

Beef and COVID: Should you be worried?

Over the last few weeks, several meat processing plants in Canada have been impacted by COVID-19. 

Here’s what you need to know:

What's happening?

  • Cargill Meat Solutions in High River has confirmed 38 staff members have been infected with COVID-19. Updated (18/04/2020): according to CBC, 358 COVID-19 cases are linked to Cargill. Updated (22/04/2020): Cargill has closed. One person has passed away. 484 COVID-19 cases are linked to Cargill.
  • Harmony Beef has confirmed one staff member has been infected with COVID-19.
  • Updated (18/04/2020): according to CBC, the JBS plant in Brooks has 67 confirmed cases.

Does this impact Bessie?

No. Bessie team members are in regular contact with our partnered small farmers and small to mid sized processors. Fewer people handle the meat from the farm to your freezer. For more information, read our update from last month here.


Will there be meat shortages at grocery stores?

Frankly, we don't know. Our experience so far is that there are a multitude of protein options at the grocery store. Quality items are getting picked over fast and it is already uncertain if the product that we want is on the shelf until we get there.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Canada union has written to the two largest beef processing plants in Canada—JBS in Brooks and Cargill in High River—to close down for two weeks for deep cleaning. They process 80% of Canada’s beef. If this goes forward, there will be shortages at grocery stores. Updated (21/04/2020): The federal government is watching the supply chain, beef prices could go up but no domestic shortage.

What is the government doing?

Jason Kenney has declared agriculture (including processing plants) as an essential service and is working with the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and CFIA to ensure the supply chain remains healthy and safe. 

Will Bessie run out of meat?

We don't foresee any issues at this time and we're in regular contact with our farmers. If anything changes, we will notify you immediately.


Are Bessie deliveries getting delayed? How soon can I expect my delivery?

Bessie delivers every Tuesday and Thursday (5-8 p.m.) and Saturday (9 a.m. - noon). If you order early in the day, you might even get your delivery on the same day! We have been experiencing increased orders, but we are committed to getting your orders to you without any delay.

We accept orders through our website (or by phone 403.200.2708).

What is Bessie doing for health and safety?

We understand food is about trust and we are taking several steps to keep each other and you safe:

  • Every Bessie team member is healthy. The majority of the time we work from home.
  • Bessie does not use third-party drivers (we have our own!)
  • We have implemented health and safety guidelines. Read them here.
  • All of our orders are contactless.
What else do I need to know?
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, there are no reported cases of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19.

What can I do?
To keep grocery stores open and essential workers (including those who work in long-term care facilities, healthcare and grocery stores) healthy and safe, continue practicing social distancing, have your groceries delivered and wash your hands.

As you know, everything is changing rapidly. We are committed to providing you factual updates as come.