Coronavirus threatens US supply chain disruption

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Meat lines may appear in the future in the United States, as coronavirus is damaging the industry, causing the closure or curtailment of operations in pork, beef and poultry processing plants across the country, writes CBS News .

Tyson Foods chairman John H. Tyson outlined this in a full-page newspaper article, noting that food supply chains are now collapsing.

A warning from the head of the company came a few days after the closure of a large pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, after several employees passed a positive COVID-19 test.

The closure was one of dozens among major US food companies, including work at the Smithfield Foods pork factory in South Dakota.

On April 26, JBS USA temporarily closed its meat processing plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin, after health officials revealed at least 189 positive coronavirus test results last week.

According to the Midwest Investigation Center, as of April 27, there were at least 4,135 positive cases of meat packing at 75 factories in 25 states and at least 18 reported deaths at nine factories in nine states.

According to United Food & Commercial Workers, a union of 250,000 meat and poultry workers, about 25% of pork factories in the United States and 10% of beef are currently closed.

“Since pork, beef and chicken processing plants are forced to close even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain,” wrote a board member at Tyson Foods.

“As a result, the offer of our products available at grocery stores will be limited until we can reopen our facilities, which are currently closed,” he said.

According to Tyson from Arkansas, a problem across the industry will affect food waste.

“Farmers across the country simply have nowhere to sell their livestock for processing when they could feed the nation,” the executive director writes.

“Millions of animals — chickens, pigs and cattle — will be depopulated due to the closure of our processing facilities,” he added. “The food supply chain is breaking.”

The word “depopulated” means the humane killing of animals in the food industry. This method is already being used in several large farms in Delaware and Maryland, where two million chickens will be depopulated due to job cuts at Delmarva Poultry Industry’s factories, the local group said.

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