Here's What Is Happening at America's Meat Plants

Unions cry foul after Trump orders plants to stay open
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2020 2:44 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday to keep meat processing plants open as "critical infrastructure"—but with coronavirus outbreaks sickening workers and closing plants, some meat products are already in short supply. Poultry plants say they are doing less de-boning as a way to function with fewer workers; some food retailers have started substituting bone-in legs, thighs, and drumsticks for boneless chicken products as a result, Fortune reports. Consumers are also likely to see bigger packages of meat in stores as well as unfamiliar items like "end cuts" from the leg. More:

  • Trump's order. The order Trump signed Tuesday night invokes the Defense Production Act to keep the plants running, NPR reports. "It is important that processors of beef, pork, and poultry ... in the food supply chain continue operating and fulfilling orders to ensure a continued supply of protein for Americans," the order states. The order followed a warning that plant closures caused by the pandemic could reduce the meat supply by 80%.

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