Fact check: Photos of bare, fully stocked grocery store shelves shared online to support false claim

The claim: Images show grocery shelves taken during Biden and Trump presidencies

Grocery stores across the nation are facing challenges stocking limited quantities of products due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and a shortage of employees along with shipping congestion at the Port of Los Angeles.

As supply chain issues are expected to worsen and grocers place limits on the purchase of certain items, some people have taken to Twitter to criticize President Joe Biden with the hashtag #BareShelvesBiden.

Meanwhile, some social media users have used an outdated image captured outside of the U.S., asserting that the scenes depict current situations at grocery stores.

An Oct. 12 Facebook post with more than 78,000 shares juxtaposes two photos: One of empty grocery store shelves presented as “Bidens America” and one of fully stocked shelves labeled "Trumps America."

But the images included in the post are unrelated to the global supply chain crisis.

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The Facebook user who shared the post did not return a request for comment.

Photos are misleading

While certain products remain scarce at grocery stores, the photo of “Trumps America” was actually captured in 2012, and the image of “Bidens America” is from 2018, the Associated Press reported.

The top image shows fully stocked grocery shelves at a Coles Supermarket at Westfield Southland Shopping Centre in Melbourne, Australia, according to the photo’s caption. Additionally, the image in question was taken in December 2012, when President Barack Obama occupied the White House.

The photo of empty grocery shelves claiming to show “Bidens America” was taken after Hurricane Florence struck the Carolinas in September 2018, when Donald Trump was president.

“Randy Spivey, Hills manager, concerned about when he can get his shelves restocked after Hurricane Florence and the flood that hit the area recently,” reads the photo’s caption in a 2018 article in My Horry News, a local news source in Horry County, South Carolina.

At the time, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services estimated the hurricane caused $1.1 billion in damages to major crops and livestock in North Carolina. Residents shared images of empty grocery shelves, retailers in South Carolina temporarily closed their locations, and gas stations reported shortages.

Fact-check organizations have recently debunked similar photos purporting to show bare shelves at U.S. supermarkets.

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As of Oct. 20, the Department of Agriculture says there are "currently no nationwide shortages of food." However, there have been widespread supply chain issues, and local outlets have reported that grocery stores are dealing with empty shelves.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that images show grocery store shelves during Biden and Trump presidencies. The photo of fully stocked shelves was captured in 2012 in Australia, and the image of empty shelves was taken in 2018 after Hurricane Florence. Some retailers are dealing with supply shortages, but the photos have been inaccurately portrayed in the post.

Our fact-check sources:

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: 'Bidens America' grocery store image was taken in 2018