Trump orders meat plants to remain open in an executive order signed Tuesday, Bloomberg reports.
A showdown between meat-producing companies and unions and activists wants to protect workers if a pandemic hits.
Meat processing plants around the U.S. have shut down because of the coronavirus, but Trump orders meat plants to stay open and said that “such ending threatens the continued functioning of the national meat and poultry supply chain, undermining critical infrastructure during the national emergency.”
Using the Defense Production Act, Trump ordered meat plants to stay open as part of the critical framework needed to keep people fed amid growing supply disruptions from the coronavirus outbreak.
When Trump ordered meat plants to stay open, he said that his administration was working with Tyson Foods.
Gary Mickelson of Tyson Foods said, “Our top priority is ensuring the safety of our employees and communities.”
According to industry experts, meat sales have increased since many Americans have stayed home due to the Coronavirus. Many of the country’s largest processing plants have closed temporarily due to viral infections among their employees.
The meat supply in the United States could be at risk, meat processing executives warned.
The US Agriculture Department reported record production of beef, pork, and meat in March.
In the past two months, 13 processing plants have closed, resulting in a 25% reduction in sowbelly slaughter capacity and a 10% reduction in beef slaughter capacity.
The major meat processors have been steadily cutting costs and improving efficiency for years. To make processing faster, workers have stood closer together while working in order to avoid those dangers.
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