Meat Processing Plants Close as Working Conditions Encourage Spread of #Coronavirus — EcoWatch #COVID19

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From EcoWatch (Olivia Rosane):

Meat processing plants across the U.S. and Canada are being forced to close as employees sicken with the new coronavirus, raising concerns both for the meat supply chain and worker safety at the often crowded plants.

One of the biggest closures to date was Sunday’s indefinite shuttering of a Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota that is responsible for around five percent of the U.S. daily pork supply, as The Associated Press reported. Its closure came after almost 300 of its 3,700 workers tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19…

Other plants have shut their doors, at least temporarily, according to Reuters. They include:

  • A JBS USA plant in Greeley, Colorado that is responsible for five percent of the U.S. daily beef slaughter, which said Monday it would close until April 24.
  • A Tyson Foods hog slaughterhouse in Columbus Junction, Iowa that said Monday it would extend an April 6 closure for another week.
  • A National Beef Packing Co. plant in Tama, Iowa that suspended cattle slaughtering until the week of April 20.
  • An Olymel pork plant in Yamachiche, Quebec, that closed for two weeks starting March 29.
  • A Maple Leaf Foods poultry plant in Brampton, Ontario that suspended production April 8.
  • Overall, hundreds of workers have fallen ill at plants in Colorado, South Dakota, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and other locations, according to The Associated Press.

    Meat processing workers are particularly vulnerable to infection because they stand very close to each other on assembly lines and share crowded locker rooms.

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