STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
Did American food processing facilities mysteriously and suspiciously begin to catch fire after President Joe Biden predicted that there could be real food shortages due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine? No, that's not true: Several incidents on a list of food processing facilities where incidents have occurred predate Biden's comments on food shortages and also predate Russia's invasion. Some of the details in the list are inaccurate or misleading. There is no evidence of the incidents being linked other than the common feature of being food processing facilities. This suggests a web search for specific keywords, not a U.S. government plot to create a food shortage inside its borders.
Biden made the comments about "real food shortages" on March 24, 2022, at a press conference after the Group of Seven (G7) meeting in Brussels. Social media rumors about a string of fires at food processing facilities were amplified when talk show radio host Jason Rantz took the topic to Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News on April 21, 2022. Rantz posted a clip of the segment on Twitter.
Several other posts, lists and memes have been circulating on social media. One example is this Facebook post on April 25, 2022, that includes a map highlighted with red pin markers. The post contains a list of 13 incidents. It opened:
Biden says to expect real food shortages due to Ukraine war.A few Moments later......Feb 5th: Wisconsin River Meats processing facility destroyed by fire in Mauston, Wisconsin.Feb 15th: Bonanza Meat Company goes up in flames in El Paso, TexasFeb 22nd: Shearer's Foods Food processing plant explodes in Hermiston, Oregon.Feb 22nd: Fire destroys Deli Star Meat Plant in Fayetteville, Illinois.March 17th: Nestle Food Plant extensively damaged in fire and new production destroyed Jonesboro, Arkansas.March 19th: Walmart Food Distribution center catches fire in Plainfield, Indiana.March 24th: Major Fire at McCrum Potato Plant in Belfast, Maine.March 29th: Maricopa Food Pantry burns down 50,000 pounds of Food destroyed in Maricopa, Arizona.March 31st: Rio Fresh Onion factory damaged by fire in San Juan, Texas.April 13th: Fire destroys East Conway Beef & Pork Meat Market in Conway, New Hampshire.April 14th: Taylor Farms Food Processing plant burns down Salinas, California.April 19th: Azure Standard nation's premier independent distributor of organic and healthy food, was destroyed by fire in Dufur, OregonApril 21st : plane crashes into and destroys General Mills Factory near Atlanta, Georgia.Reposted*MmmmmkayGrow food. Know farmers. Yesterday. Heads out of the sand. The gov doesn't love you, nor are they going to help you. Any "help" they offer is going to come with strings attached that you do not want. Time to pull those bootstraps.YOU ARE STRONG, SMART, RESOURCEFUL, + CAPABLE.
With regard to food shortage, yes, we did talk about food shortages. And -- and it's going to be real. The price of these sanctions is not just imposed upon Russia, it's imposed upon an awful lot of countries as well, including European countries and our country as well. And -- because both Russia and Ukraine have been the breadbasket of Europe in terms of wheat, for example ...
There are many food and beverage processing establishments (plants) in the United States -- 36,486, owned by about 31,401 companies in 2017, according to the most recent comprehensive data in the Census Bureau's 2017 Economic Census.
Every 23 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation. A fire occurs in a structure at the rate of one every 64 seconds, and a home fire occurs every 89 seconds.
- On April 21, 2022, a plane did not crash into and destroy a General Mills Factory near Atlanta. According to Covington Police Capt. Ken Malcom, the plane crashed in the parking lot about 300 feet from the plant. Although two people aboard the plane were killed, "The fact that it didn't crash into the plant, saved many lives," Malcom said.
- On April 14, 2022: Taylor Farms Food Processing plant burned down in Salinas, California. The plant was not operational at this point in the season. Taylor Farms has over 20 facilities across North America. The Salinas Fire department said that 85 to 90 percent of the 225,000-square-foot building was a total loss and that there were indications that a welding project sparked a fire in a wall.
- On April 13, 2022, a fire destroyed East Conway Beef & Pork Meat Market in Conway, New Hampshire. This is a small local meat processor. According to their Facebook page:
Our facility is equipped to slaughter and smoke beef, pork, lamb, goat, bison and chickens. We are USDA Approved and Federally regulated to process poultry.
We are a family owned and operated small business that takes pride in providing you with exceptional service.
2022-05-10T16:06:54Z 2022-05-10T16:06:54ZAdds source of map.