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'Crazy new level of panic-buying': Milk and meat shelves picked dry at some Vancouver Island grocery stores

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Victoria -

Walking the aisles of her local grocery stores, Jessica Calado was shocked and saddened Wednesday night.

The Campbell River, B.C. mother says meat and milk shelves at her local Walmart and SuperStore were both nearly picked clean.

"This is a whole crazy new level of panic buying," Calado told CTV News.

"The look on peoples faces were, 'Oh my god if I don't get this, buy this now, it's going to be gone.' It was almost sad," she said.

Calado says the surge of grocery shopping was similar to what she witnessed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I'm sad for the families that can't go out and buy milk when they want to, or meat when they want to," she said.

Quickly after the weekend's massive rainstorm and subsequent flooding and landslides, provincial officials assured the public that B.C.’s supply chain was bent, but not broken.

"Particularly your day-to-day consumables, you're still going to get them,” said Dave Earl, president of B.C.’s Truckers Association, on Tuesday.

"Do not hoard items," B.C. Premier John Horgan warned on Wednesday.

The question now is, why are so many not listening and stressing remaining supply lines in a difficult time?

"If I'm a grocery store in Victoria and I source my meat from Kamloops you've got a problem, but if you get it from the Lower Mainland it’s not as bad,” said Greg Wilson with the Retail Council of Canada on Thursday.

The B.C. representative for the national organization says Vancouver Island grocery chains source food from all over Western Canada and beyond.

Now, in the wake of disaster, he says a massive shuffling of the deck is taking place.

Chains are quickly searching for new, and likely more local, options for resupply.

"The supply chain will right itself when demand is at normal levels. Right now it's not at normal levels," said Wilson.

Transportation experts say until the trend of panic buying subsides, you can expect food shortages on some grocery store shelves to continue. 

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