Several states planning to help protect meat processing plant workers amid COVID-19 outbreak
WOODBRIDGE, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - New details are emerging on how several states, including Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, plan to help protect poultry workers amid outbreaks at processing plants.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam addressed the concerns Monday as warnings about meat shortages are growing louder.
Several processing plants remain shut down after coronavirus outbreaks among employees.
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The CEO of Tyson Foods even took out several full-page newspaper ads to warn that the food supply chain is vulnerable and breaking. Those ads appeared in Sunday’s Washington Post and the New York Times, among others.
A grocery store employee in Northern Virginia says stores could feel the impact in the next couple weeks.
Gov. Northam joined Maryland and Delaware governors on Monday in sending a joint letter to federal leaders asking for help to protect meat processing plant workers.
They want the federal government to:
• Appoint one agency to deal with COVID-19 agriculture-related issues
• Resources for workers
• Provide necessary PPE
• Release urgent CDC and OSHA guidance for plants and workers
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Smithfield and Tyson Foods both have ads up on their websites and social media pages addressing concerns surrounding their plans and coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the full-page ad written by Tyson Foods CEO John Tyson says there will be a limited supply of products available in grocery stores until the company is able to reopen facilities that are currently closed.
Last Friday, FOX 5 reported that two million chickens in Maryland and Delaware would be killed and not used for meat because there weren’t enough workers.
Tyson was forced to close an Iowa plant on Wednesday, reportedly vital to the country’s pork supply.
Tyson is not alone.
Virginia based Smithfield Foods, the country’s largest pork producer, is echoing the same sentiments after closing several plants.
FOX 5’s Tisha Lewis reports some area grocery stores and customers are fine right now but are anticipating the meat shortage impact within the next two weeks.
Gov. Northam says the CDC deployed a team on the ground at several plants today to track cases, increase safety procedures and recommend mitigation measures.
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