In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, many meatpacking facilities closed down to due health concerns of their employees. After an Executive Order from President Donald Trump declared the meat packing plants critical infrastructure, the plants opened back up to prevent further disruptions to the food supply. A month after the Executive Order, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue applauded the safe reopening of critical infrastructure meatpacking facilities across the United States.
This week, across the cattle, swine, and broiler sectors, processing facilities are operating more than 95 percent of their average capacity compared to this time last year. In fact, beef facilities are operating at 98 percent, pork facilities are operating at 95 percent, and poultry facilities are operating at 98 percent of their capacity compared to the same time last year.
America’s meatpacking facilities are safely resuming operations following the Executive Order directing the facilities to implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines specifically created for the meat and poultry sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with the CDC, OSHA, and state and local health officials, has been working around the clock to ensure a safe and stable supply of protein is available for American consumers all while keeping employees safe.
“President Trump took decisive action to ensure America’s meatpacking facilities reopen in a safe way to ensure America’s producers and ranchers will be able to bring their product to market,” Perdue said. “I want to thank the patriotic and heroic meatpacking facility workers, the companies, and the local authorities for quickly getting their operations back up and running, and for providing a great meat selection once again to the millions of Americans who depend on them for food.”