Food Industry - 100 day report : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Did convert the Food Industry portion of the Senate 100 day report to HTML.

-- marsh (, September 23, 1999


Marsh, thanks for the conversion. You need to read this report, folks. Pay particular attention to the table concerning various sectors of the food supply and estimates of where breakdowns are likely to occur and how serious they will be. Baby food, for instance. . . For those who don't have time, here's my slightly shortened version of the conclusions, which the Committee entitles "Expectations," and some comments.

Gartner Group indicates that Y2K system failures will occur in highest volumes from third quarter 1999 through first quarter 2001, with the highest volume peaks during fourth quarter 1999 and first quarter 2000 through third quarter 2000. . . .

As with business in general, larger corporations are better prepared than SMEs. . . .

***Disruptions will occur*** [my emphasis], however, the industry is likely to be very responsive in resolving them. Given the emphasis given to and resources spent on Y2K, the industry is alert and watchful. As noted, they are an industry that is accustomed to responding to natural disasters and have done well historically in those situations. The question that remains is whether there are Y2K-related disasters of unseen proportions (first order, second order, cascading, and so forth) and [how] well prepared the industry might be for such disasters. [They still don't really know, but comparing this assessment with the information from the February hearings, I think the Committee is MORE concerned about disruptions.]

Kroger testified. . . that it maintains safety stock inventory levels . . . 35 days in centers and stores. . . . FMIs president said " for processed products, there are somewhere between three and five weeks of products on hand in retail facilities, and in the pipeline all the way through from the processor to retail, there would be several months of supply on the way already here and available for consumption."

The FSWGs third quarterly report. . . noted that most major corporations expect to increase inventory along their supply chains as part of their contingency planning. ***The weak link in the chain may be the ability to transport this robust inventory to the needed locations for sale*** [my emphasis].

If Y2K causes significant problems for utilities in rural areas, the farm side of the food supply chain will experience longer outages than if problems occurred in urban areas and cities. This is largely due to the realities of rural living and the fact that resources most often are first applied where the greatest concentration of people is located. Thus, some farmers are preparing for possible disruptions that may last a little longer than a few days. [Ambiguous--what does "little" mean?]

If the Y2K problem does cause severe disruptions in some countries, the U.S. may be asked to provide humanitarian assistance in the form of food aid. [Nothing about response. What if the US can't respond this time? What does that mean for US companies and installations abroad?]


. . . One great area of concern is that panic buying and stockpiling of food might result in a self-fulfilling prophecy resulting in shortages and disruptions. Continued movement by the food industry to the more open stance it has recently taken at the local level will help ameliorate the situation. [The food industry and government have had since at least February to plan for this contignency, but we won't go into that here.]

Food banks should plan for the possibility of a surge in donations during the first quarter of 2000 if Y2K impacts are few. [I wonder where they got that notion from . . .?]

If buying were to increase to a pace exceeding the current supply, it is important that Americans who need help most and are least able to prepare individually for Y2K are considered as part of local and state contingency and business continuity plans. [Reread that sentence--note the part about those needing help being part of local and state contingency plans--but I thought nobody was supposed to prepare for more than three days. . . .] Non-governmental agencies that support these individuals should be included in these plans. [Does this mean entities like the Salvation Army, Red Cross, etc?]

As with most of the industry assessments, most of the information base upon which analysis is conducted is founded upon self-reported information.

***Again, the Committee is concerned that the nature of information raises the suspicion that it is overly optimistic.***

My usual comment: not very encouraging.

There WILL be some panic buying, I'm virtually certain. When? Perhaps when people start shopping for their Thanksgiving supplies they'll begin to load up on items to see them through Y2K disruptions. There's a little time left. Check those lists!

-- Old Git (, September 23, 1999.

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