Boneless chicken is first to go scarce as coronavirus hits U.S. meat supply

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Goodbye, boneless chicken.

Food retailers across North America are swapping boneless chicken legs for less popular thighs and drumsticks as a wave of shutdowns at meatpacking plants has reduced supplies of sought-after cuts.

Covid-19 infections among workers at some of the largest meat processing plants in the U.S. and Canada have reduced slaughter capacity, and in some cases the types of cuts available. Outbreaks have shut down almost a third of U.S. pork capacity and the growing wave of disruptions has spurred plans by President Donald Trump to order meat-processing plants to remain open. In Canada, Cargill Inc. has idled its beef plant in High River, Alberta, which accounts for about 40% of Canada’s processing capacity while JBS SA’s beef plant in Brooks, Alberta, is running at about half capacity.