COVID-19 forces Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Sioux Falls to close


Smithfield Foods said that its pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota will stay closed until further notice owing to the prevailing outbreak.

The pork processing facility is said to be among the largest in the US, representing 4-5% of the pork produced in the country. Supplying around 130 million servings of food per week, or about 18 million servings per day, the pork processing factory has 3,700 employees and is supplied by over 550 independent family farmers.

Kenneth M. Sullivan – president and CEO of Smithfield Foods said: “The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply. It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running. These facility closures will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain, first and foremost our nation’s livestock farmers. These farmers have nowhere to send their animals.

“Unfortunately, COVID-19 cases are now ubiquitous across our country. The virus is afflicting communities everywhere. The agriculture and food sectors have not been immune. Numerous plants across the country have COVID-19 positive employees. We have continued to run our facilities for one reason: to sustain our nation’s food supply during this pandemic. We believe it is our obligation to help feed the country, now more than ever. We have a stark choice as a nation: we are either going to produce food or not, even in the face of COVID-19.”

Smithfield Foods to close pork processing plant in Sioux Falls amid COVID-19 outbreak

Smithfield Foods to close pork processing plant in amid COVID-19 outbreak
. Image courtesy of Smithfield Foods, Inc.

Smithfield Foods said that in preparation for a complete shutdown, some activity will take place at the pork processing plant in on Tuesday to process products in inventory, which is said to contain millions of protein servings. The meat processing company will resume operations in the Sioux Falls pork processing factory once further direction is issued by the local, state and federal officials.

Smithfield Foods has committed to compensate its employees for the next couple of weeks and hopes that they do not get unemployed like the tens of millions who had lost their jobs recently due to the crisis.

The meat processing company reiterated that as per the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), there is no proof of food or food packaging being associated with the spread of COVID-19.

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