Story at a glance

  • As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the United States, meat processing plants are struggling to stay open.
  • President Donald Trump has sought to keep meat processing plants open as critical infrastructure during the pandemic.
  • A new Reuters analysis found exports to China have increased in recent months.

As American shoppers start to see meat shortages in their grocery stores, a Reuters analysis finds exports from U.S. meat processing plants to China have increased.


America is changing faster than ever. Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feeds to stay top of the most important news.


Pork suppliers have been hit especially hard by the mass closure of restaurants and slaughterhouses. At the same time, hundreds of workers at meat and poultry processing facilities in 19 states have confirmed cases of COVID-19.

ADVERTISEMENT

"The closures and slowdown in production have reduced pork slaughter capacity by about 35 to 40 percent and beef slaughter capacity by about 30 to 40 percent," Reuters reported, using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  

But while the number of pigs slaughtered each day fell by about 40 percent since mid-March, Reuters reported, shipments of American pork to China more than quadrupled over the same time period, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS IN AMERICA

EXPERTS: 90% OF CORONAVIRUS DEATHS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED

HERE'S WHEN IT'S SAFE FOR YOUR STATE TO REOPEN

HERE ARE THE 6 WAYS THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC COULD END

ADVERTISEMENT

HOW DOES THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AFFECT SUICIDE RATES?

CORONAVIRUS HAS MUTATED INTO MORE THAN 30 STRAINS, NEW STUDY FINDS


The findings come after President Donald Trump issued an executive order dedicating resources to ensure that meat and poultry processors continue their operations as "critical infrastructure during the national emergency." 

Smithfield, the world’s biggest pork processor, was the largest U.S. exporter to China between January and March, according to Panjiva, a division of S&P Global Market Intelligence. Reuters reported that the company, which was bought by China’s WH Group for $4.7 billion in 2013, shipped at least 13,680 tonnes by sea in March.

Smithfield said its namesake pork plant in Virginia will be redirected to increase supplies for U.S. customers in a statement to Reuters, which reported the plant and switched to processing hog carcasses for the Chinese market last year. 


BREAKING NEWS ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

THESE ARE THE 6 WAYS THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC COULD END

WHO: THERE'S NO EVIDENCE WEARING A MASK WILL PROTECT YOU FROM CORONAVIRUS 

HERE'S WHEN THE CORONAVIRUS WILL PEAK IN YOUR STATE

FAUCI PREDICTS ANOTHER CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK IN THE FALL WITH A 'VERY DIFFERENT' OUTCOME

MORE THAN 1000 TEST POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS AT TYSON MEAT PLANT THE DAY IT REOPENS




Published on May 11, 2020