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Photos don’t show grocery shelves during Trump and Biden presidencies

October 15, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: An image of grocery store shelves fully stocked with soup cans is from former President Donald Trump’s America, while an image of nearly empty grocery store shelves is from President Joe Biden’s America.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: Missing context. The photo described as Trump’s America was captured in 2012 in Australia, while the photo described as Biden’s America was taken after a hurricane in South Carolina in 2018, when Trump was president. It’s true that some grocery stores have temporarily struggled to keep shelves stocked during the pandemic, but these images are misrepresented.

THE FACTS: A post viewed more than 1 million times on Facebook this week uses outdated, irrelevant images in an attempt to claim U.S. supermarkets have food shortages under Biden but were flush with supplies under Trump.

The first image in the post, which shows grocery store shelves fully stocked with canned soups, includes a text overlay that says “Trump’s America.”

However, a reverse-image search reveals it actually was captured in Australia, and dates to 2012. A caption with the image on Wikimedia Commons says it was taken at a Coles supermarket in Melbourne, Australia. The labels on the cans in the image are another hint the image doesn’t show “Trump’s America:” One of the labels, Country Ladle, is a Campbell Soup Company brand specific to Australia.

The second image in the post, which shows a grocery store aisle with some sparse shelves and some empty ones, includes a text overlay that says “Biden’s America.”

But a reverse-image search shows this photo was actually taken during Trump’s administration. The photo appeared in a September 2018 story in My Horry News, a local news outlet in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. According to an image caption, it shows a store manager “concerned about when he can get his shelves restocked after Hurricane Florence and the flood that hit the area recently.”

Supply-chain disruptions during the pandemic have caused some grocery stores to have inconsistent inventory, but there are no widespread supply-chain disruptions currently, nor any nationwide food shortages, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.


This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.