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A Dire Warning as Meat Plants Start to Close

Workers are getting sick, and supply chain could be disrupted
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2020 2:19 AM CDT
Updated Apr 13, 2020 6:43 AM CDT

(Newser) – Employees at meat processing plants are getting the new coronavirus—and some of the facilities are shutting down, including one of the country's biggest pork processing facilities. Bloomberg reports there's been a "spike" in coronavirus infections at such plants, with hundreds of new cases last week. Plants are starting to slow operations or reduce output, and one economist explains that's "one of the huge reasons for the decline in futures prices," down about 40% in recent months. As the pork plant in Sioux Falls, SD, announced Sunday it was closing until further notice, the CEO of Smithfield, which runs the facility, had a dire warning for what this could mean.

  • The warning: "It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running. These facility closures will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain," Kenneth Sullivan said, per CNN. "The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply."

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