Smithfield Foods closes two more plants
Pork processor Smithfield Foods is temporarily closing two more plants, one in Cudahy, Wis., and one in Martin City, Mo., due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Both plants have a small number of employees who have tested positive for the coronavirus, The Associated Press reported. The Missouri plant is closed indefinitely, and the Wisconsin plant is closed for two weeks.
The Missouri plant, which produces spiral hams, receives raw material from Smithfield’s Sioux Falls, S.D. facility. A worker at that plant, which closed indefinitely on April 12, has died from coronavirus and overall it has 518 infected employees and 126 infected people connected to employees.
The Missouri plant is expected to have at least six employees with coronavirus and the Wisconsin plant has at least two. John Eiden, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1473, raised concerns about protections for workers at the Wisconsin plant in a letter to Smithfield’s human resources department in March.
Other meat processors like Tysons Food, Cargill and JBS have also closed plants.
Two employees of Tyson Foods’ Columbus Junction, Iowa, pork processing plant have also died, and the plant has 148 confirmed cases. It closed on April 6 due to the outbreak.
Recent closures of processing plants due to coronavirus outbreaks have put a spotlight on the food supply chain. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said this week that the U.S. food supply chain remains sound.
“It’s safe, it’s resilient, and it’ll continue. We have multiple processing facilities. While some are down temporarily to clean out, [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] is working with them on the best measures to protect their employees as well as to become operational again,” he told Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo.