Social media posts falsely claim food plant fires are an attempt to starve US population

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Posts on social media falsely claim that there has been an increase in fires at food factories in the US

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Numerous false posts on social media claim that recent fires at food processing plants in the US have been intentionally orchestrated in order to create a national food supply shortage. Euronews has fact-checked these claims. 

Even politicians have got involved, such as Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who added fuel to the fire by tweeting that these incidents were perhaps not so accidental.

One Facebook post even suggests that Bill Gates is the one behind all of these fires. However, there is currently no evidence that any of these fires were premeditated in order to create a food shortage in the country.

Many of the fires mentioned were accidental, such as this one from Maine in March 2022. Only 3 recent fires are still under investigation according to FactCheck.

No alarming increase of fires in 2022

But has there been an alarming increase in these incidents this year? According to a 2019 report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), there are over 36,000 food processing plants in the country.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the annual average of fires at food facilities from 2015 to 2019 was 5,308. Therefore, it’s more common that we could think. 

In the first 4 months of 2022, there have been approximately 20 fires at food plants according to a NFPA spokesperson who talked to FactCheck. 

So these numbers are not particularly alarming. And operations at the majority of these facilities were only temporarily suspended, which would not cause a national food crisis.

Despite worker shortages and supply chain issues due to the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the USDA said that there are currently no food shortages or disruptions.

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