Costco heading off a run on meat by rationing to 3 items


Costco is limiting purchases of meat in advance of what the company expects could be a run on protein and a weaker supply chain to resupply it.

“Costco has implemented limits on certain items to help ensure more members are able to purchase merchandise they want and need. Our buyers and suppliers are working hard to provide essential, high demand merchandise as well as everyday favorites,” the store said on its website.

Fresh meat purchases are temporarily limited to a total of 3 items per member among the beef, pork and poultry products.

Kroger, owner of Fred Meyer, is implementing a similar measures at some of its stores across the country, although it has not announced which stores will have rationed meats.

Tyson, the largest US meat producer, has closed many of its processing plants due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The shutdowns have led to fewer cuts of meat at stores around the country and rising prices.

“Now, Tyson Foods is facing a new set of challenges. In small communities around the country where we employ over 100,000 hard-working men and women, we’re being forced to shutter our doors. This means one thing – the food supply chain is vulnerable. As pork, beef and chicken plants are being forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain. As a result, there will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed,” John Tyson, CEO, wrote in an essay that was published widely last week.


  1. Contrary to appearances, I do not live on my computer. However, it does notify me of incoming/new messages.
    As for the 3 item limit on beef, pork and poultry products, I can see the writing on the check out receipt. Many, facing a 3 item limit, will buy the biggest item or package of those items available. For instance, buy the entire ribeye, instead of a steak. Average ribeye yields about 14 good sized steaks. All one needs do is slice it. Pork? Buy the entire loin instead of a pack of porkchops. Poultry? No poultry purchase for one or two pieces of chicken is available. It all comes in mega-packs. Nothing wrong with that. I do think the buying habits will “mutate” to fit the buying opportunity. Another very good reason for Alaska to strive for self sufficiency. Especially in food. Mat-Valley is an unmatched area for growing most any vegetable (except corn) or tuber, and livestock. Kodiak and other outlying areas have quality cattle and sheep ranches that are itching for local markets. Almost all our fish harvest is sent somewhere else. Alaska has the means to take care of our own. It’s time we started doing that. Who should we depend on? Ourselves. Then, we know what we’re getting.

    • If there is a lesson to be learned by this pandemic (and there is a lesson to be learned), we should not rely on other countries or even states to provide our basic needs. Once upon a time in America and in Alaska we were self-sufficient folk who could provide for ourselves. Let’s do that again, shall we?

    • As I understand it, we’d need a bunch of USDA regs changed or repealed to do all the processing for local sale locally.

      • Or an inspector. With all this “free” covid money we could fund an overpaid usda inspector for generations!

      • I don’t know what authority the USDA has when it comes to intrastate commerce, but if the situation gets bad enough, we could just tell them to pound sand. All it should take is for the governor to suspend or severely limit state laws and regulations so that in-state beef, pork and poultry can be brought to market within the state.

        • Can’t remember the case; its from the New Deal Era, but it has a very expansive reading of the commerce clause as it relates to agriculture, even to growing your own agricultural products for personal use.

          The SC held that a farmer growing his own wheat for his own purposes had an effect on interstate commerce because of its effect on the market for wheat, and therefore his wheat was subject to federal regulation.

  2. Note this is fresh meat sales only. Frozen is still available and unlike last month, there was no limit on frozen meat this week.

    • When the fresh meat is gone, frozen meat will be the next to disappear. And no doubt some hoarders are already stocking up on frozen meat, as most meat they buy will need to be frozen anyway.

Comments are closed.