For the past few weeks, we’ve been hearing about problems with the meat supply chain because of the closing down of processing plants across the country.
Farmers have been talking about possibly having to euthanize pigs, cows and chickens because they have animals that they can’t get processed, both because the meat plants have been closing down and also the loss of orders from restaurants and schools.
There is no food shortage. Transportation is fine. There’s just an issue of getting the meat processed which has been stymied with meat processing plants reducing output or closing.
On Tuesday, President Trump signed an order using the Defense Production Act to classify meat processing as critical infrastructure.
The president is doing everything he can to prevent a shortage of pork, chicken and other meat across America so that people are able to feed their families.
A White House statement said, “Under the order, the Department of Agriculture is directed to ensure America’s meat and poultry processors continue operations uninterrupted to the maximum extent possible.”
The statement also says that the plants will comply with CDC guidelines on safety and health.
More than 20 meatpacking plants across the country have closed because of pressure from local authorities and their workers, some who walked out over safety concerns.
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Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Workers said that 20 workers have died of COVID-19 and more than 5000 workers are showing symptoms of the virus with some hospitalized.
An anonymous official in the White House said that the president is working with the Labor Department to provide enhanced safety guidance for these workers, including having workers over 65 stay home.
The Trump administration is working without these companies to help them get protective equipment like masks and face shields and additional testing.
The president also consulted with Tyson and others in the industry when working on the order so that liability protections could be addressed.
While the plants have sat idle, essential workers have been deep cleaning the facilities and working on physical barriers for social distancing.
Some plants have also decided to stagger breaks and working times to enhance social distancing when their employees start working again.
The good news, if we’re being told the truth, is that the virus cannot be spread through food. Or so says WHO, the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.