Virus Outbreak at Food Distribution Center Is Beginning to Disrupt Supply

A Covid outbreak at a warehouse belonging to one of the largest wholesale food distributors in the U.S. is leading to food shortages even after the facility reopened.

United Natural Foods Inc.’s distribution center in Centralia, Washington, opened its doors on Aug. 7 after suspending operations for a week. The facility is ramping back up and filling orders “as quickly as possible,” a UNFI spokesperson said. But Chef’store, which sells food and other kitchen supplies to restaurants across the U.S., and relies on UNFI, is still facing widespread disruption.

“The temporary suspension of operations at UNFI’s Centralia distribution center has impacted our ability to keep some product in stock across many Chef’store locations,” said a spokesperson for Chef’store.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, outbreaks within the food industry have caused chaos across supply chains as operations critical to the food system like meatpacking plants drew national attention for becoming virus hotspots.

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