Meat packing plants altering production

TAGS: Business
marina_karkalicheva/iStock/Thinkstock Pork carcasses hanging in cooler
National Beef Packing Company, JBS USA and Tyson Foods all reporting some impacts to processing operations.

National Beef Packing Company, JBS USA and Tyson Foods are all reporting some impacts to their processing operations as a result of COVID-19.

Tyson Foods chief executive officer Noel White announced Monday that the company had suspended operations at its Columbus Junction, Iowa, pork plant due to more than two dozen cases of COVID-19 involving team members at the facility. However, he noted that the livestock originally scheduled for delivery to Columbus Junction were getting diverted to other Tyson pork plants in the region “to minimize the impact on our overall production.”

National Beef told Feedstuffs its Iowa Premium beef processing facility in Tama, Iowa had moved its regularly scheduled plant cleanup to the week of April 6. The move came after an employee recently tested positive for COVID-19.

“The plant’s harvest and fabrication schedules have been adjusted and communicated to cattle suppliers, employees, customers and other service providers,” the company said in statement to Feedstuffs, adding that employees will be eligible for a 40-hour weekly guarantee at current emergency pay rate.

“These are unprecedented times for our industry; National Beef will continue to balance the responsibility we have to all our partners including employees, suppliers and customers while continuing to produce high quality beef.”

Last week, the JBS Souderton, Pennsylvania beef processing plant became the first U.S. plant to have altered production due to the spreading COVID-19 virus. The company announced March 30 that it was temporarily reducing production after several senior management team members displayed flu-like symptoms. This week, however, the company announced the plant would be closed until April 16 to ensure it had “the appropriate management leadership in place before resuming operations.”

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