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Seafood and other specialty foods that are flown in fresh daily could be in short supply, and more expensive, as the result of canceled airline flights across the country.
Also, foods that come into the United States through seaports could be affected as ships are kept out of ports for security reasons, officials with local food companies said Wednesday.
"We are just keeping our fingers crossed because so much of what we get comes from the East Coast," said Karen Adams with Food Ingredients Co. of Waukesha.
The supply of fresh seafood already has been disrupted, affecting everything from lobsters to tuna and marlin, said Steve Hoell, owner of Al's Seafood Market in Milwaukee.
If seafood is being held under the right refrigerated conditions and is moved from storage soon, it could be OK, Hoell said. If not, it will have to be dumped.
"Some airports have refrigeration and some do not. We will just have to take it on a case-by-case basis," Hoell said.
There isn't a major problem yet, but that could change, added John Murphy, assistant manager at Yankee Fish Market in Milwaukee.
"I hope our suppliers can keep us going," he said. If seafood suppliers lose large amounts of product to spoilage, retail prices could go up, Murphy and others said.
"There's not much we can do about it," he said. "It's all about supply and demand, and everyone is facing the same situation."