Costco limiting amount of fresh meat items each customer can purchase

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Costco is following Kroger’s lead and temporarily limiting the amount of meat its members can buy in one trip.

In response to consumer shopping habits amid the coronavirus health crisis, Costco announced over the weekend that it would be implementing product limitations on its beef, pork and poultry.

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“Costco has implemented limits on certain items to help ensure more members are able to purchase merchandise they want and need,” the warehouse club wrote on its Updates and Coronavirus Response page. “Our buyers and suppliers are working hard to provide essential, high demand merchandise as well as everyday favorites.”

For members, this means being able to purchase only three fresh meat items from the stores’ beef, pork or poultry selections.

Costco is temporarily limiting the amount of beef, pork and poultry items its members will be able to purchase.

Costco is temporarily limiting the amount of beef, pork and poultry items its members will be able to purchase. (Qian Weizhong/Xinhua via Getty Images)

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Costco’s latest policy is just one of several implemented amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the chain announced that customers would be required to wear face masks as of Monday, May 4. The company had also limited the amount of guests a member could bring inside the store, and changed its hours of operation. (On Friday, however, Costco announced that “most” warehouses would be returning to normal operating hours this week.)

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Costco did not disclose its specific reasoning for limiting meat, specifically, though industry analysts and insiders have been warning of possible meat shortages across the food-supply chain since early April. Several of the nation’s larger meat-processing plants, including those operated by Smithfield Foods and a Tyson Foods, have since been forced to close in response to coronavirus outbreaks or staffing issues created by the crisis.

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“It’s down across the board right now, so the next couple of weeks we should see how the system works,” Sarah Little, a spokeswoman for the North American Meat Institute, said in late April of the food supply chain. “It’s never been tested like this before.”

Fox News' Alexandra Deabler and Janine Puhak contributed to this report.