US Meat Processing Plants To Remain Open Amid COVID-19

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020 | 1558 Views

The US government has signed an executive order to keep meat processing plants in operation to protect the food supply chain in US. This invokes the Defense Production Act which declares meat plants as “critical infrastructure”. This comes after the biggest meat companies such as Tyson and Cargill Inc have shut operations at slaughterhouses and processing facilities due to growing number of employees falling ill.

The meat industry has taken a toll with closures of at least 20 facilities and Tyson Foods has warned that the “food supply chain is breaking”. According to the USDA’s weekly report from April 27, beef production has fallen 25 percent year-over-year, while pork production has fallen 15 percent.

According to a statement by the White House, given the high concentration of meat processors in a relatively small number of facilities, closure of any plant can disrupt the food supply. Moreover, the shutdown of one large beef processing plant results in the loss of more than 10 million servings of beef a day.

Guidelines will be provided for companies to remain open safely and to minimise risk to workers vulnerable to the virus including older workers and those with health issues, according to the administration.


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