Tyson Foods announced that its Logansport, Indiana, meatpacking facility will voluntarily close after 146 employees tested positive for coronavirus. The company is working with the Cass County Health Department to conduct COVID-19 testing to more than 2,200 workers from the pork plant.
The largest meat supplier in the United States also announced the suspension of operations indefinitely at its largest pork plant in Waterloo, Iowa, after operating at reduced capacity.
The Logansport pork processing facility, which produces three million pounds of pork daily and helps support more than 250 independent family farmers from across nine states, suspended production for one day on April 20 for additional deep cleaning and sanitizing. Since then, the meatpacking facility has been running at limited production and is expected to stop production on or before Saturday, April 25.
“Closing facilities have serious implications to the national food supply for American families, local communities, growers, and farmers,” said Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats. “When a facility closes, the availability of protein for consumers across the nation will only decrease. Consumers will see an impact at the grocery store as production slows. It also means the loss of a vital market outlet for farmers and contributes to the disruption of the nation’s pork supply.”
The company’s other meat and poultry plants currently continue to operate, but some are running at reduced levels of production either due to the planned implementation of additional worker safety precautions or worker absenteeism. Tyson Foods has suspended production for a day at some meatpacking locations for additional deep cleaning and sanitization.
According to CNBC, Brazilian-owned JBS USA and WH Group’s Smithfield Foods have also each indefinitely closed massive pork plants in Minnesota and South Dakota, respectively.
A recent investigation published by USA TODAY and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting revealed coronavirus outbreaks at dozens of meatpacking plants across the nation is far more extensive than previously thought.
According to the USA TODAY, and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, as of last Tuesday, coronavirus infections had spread in at least 48 U.S. meatpacking plants, sickening more than 2,200 people and killing 17.