Several meat processing plants around the United States have temporarily shuttered their doors following hundreds of workers testing positive for coronavirus. This comes at a time when Americans are trying to stock up on food as they experience supply chains being disrupted.
Health officials are investigating a beef plant in northern Colorado after as many as 50 employees tested positive for COVID-19, and two died from the lethal respiratory disease. The meat processing plant that employs 6,000 people in Greeley, Colorado, is about 50 miles north of Denver and is owned by the Brazil-based JBS S.A., one of the world's largest meat processors.
JBS has since partnered with the state and federal government, including Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the White House coronavirus task force.
"At this time, our team is working with the governor and working with the senator to ensure that we (send) testing resources," Pence said during a White House briefing, after speaking to Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) about the Greeley plant.
"While the measures we have taken within our facility to improve safety have made a positive impact, COVID-19 remains a threat across the United States and in Weld County, which is why we are investing more than $1 million in COVID-19 testing kits for our team members," Andre Nogueira, JBS USA CEO, said in a statement.
The meat-packing plant will be closed for the three-day holiday weekend, as was previously scheduled, as well as Tuesday to give employees time off to be tested for the coronavirus and for the premises to be thoroughly cleaned.
Tyson Foods, another one of the world's biggest meat processors, suspended operations at its pork plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa. That's where more than two dozen workers tested positive with the coronavirus.
The company issued a statement detailing the extra precautions it is implementing to ensure a safe working environment for its employees.
"We've been taking the temperature of workers at all of our locations before they enter company facilities. We're mostly using temporal thermometers but at a few locations we're beginning to implement infrared temperature scanners," the statement read. "In addition, we've stepped up deep cleaning and sanitizing of our facilities, especially in employee breakrooms, locker rooms and other areas, to protect our team members. This additional cleaning sometimes requires suspending at least one day of production."
Cargill Meat Solutions, another massive meat-processing company, had to temporarily close a plant after 130 workers tested positive for COVID-19. The 900-employee meat-processing plant in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, is one of four meat plants in the Keystone State that have recently been forced to close because of the coronavirus pandemic. The others are JBS Beef in Souderton, CTI Foods in King of Prussia, and Empire Kosher Poultry Inc. in Mifflintown, according to Wendell Young IV, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776, which represents workers at all four plants.
Glenn Beck recently interviewed Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), where they discussed the possibility of "significant food shortages" because of the spread of coronavirus at meat-processing plants.
"Six of the big, giant meat processing plants; I mean one of these handles like 1,900 cattle a day, are shutting down because the workers have the virus," Massie told Beck. "And they don't have the tests to know which workers don't have it, etc., etc."
"I can tell you the price of cattle is going down, meanwhile, the price of beef is going up in the supermarket and is caused because the supply chains are brittle," Massie warned. "We need to change course because by the middle of this summer, if something hasn't changed, it's going to be ugly."
Congressman Massie Interview with Glenn Beck (Part 1) www.youtube.com