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No, a Pennsylvania Walmart didn’t run out of food

A viral Facebook video of empty shelves at a Walmart in Pennsylvania is not evidence of supply chain problems. The coolers shown were temporarily emptied while a refrigerant leak was repaired. Let’s take a look at the facts.

A Facebook post that says “There is zero food at Walmart Dickson City! All these coolers are down? Every single one?” The post includes a video of empty shelves. The News Literacy Project added a label that says, “OUT OF CONTEXT.”

The coolers in this video are not empty because of a supply chain issue.
Employees temporarily emptied the coolers due to a refrigerant leak and restocked them after the problem was repaired.
The Walmart in Dickson City, Pennsylvania, confirmed to PolitiFact that it never ran out of food and no other inventory was affected by this incident.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused ongoing and widespread supply chain issues.
Grocery stores, including in Dickson City, have felt the continued effects of these problems over the past few months.

NewsLit takeaway

Visual misinformation like out-of-context video and photos are easily mistaken for sound evidence for false claims, especially when they involve issues that hit close to home. In this case, there is a seed of truth: The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on global supply chains — a problem exacerbated by transport issues; disruptions to production and labor; and business strategies aimed at “reducing the amount of on-hand and in-transit inventory.” Rumors seeking to exploit public frustrations and anxiety about these disruptions for political gain have been common throughout the pandemic.

Here is a full copy of the video:

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