COVID-19 hit Smithfield Foods to close two more meat processing plants

US meat processing company Smithfield Foods will close two more of its meat processing plants at Cudahy, Wisconsin and Martin City, Missouri amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The announcement follows the closure of the company’s pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where over 500 employees contracted coronavirus, reported Fox Business.

The US meat processing company said that its Cudahy dry sausage and bacon plant will remain closed for a couple of weeks.

The Martin City meat processing plant, which employs more than 400 people for producing spiral and smoked hams, sources raw material from the Sioux Falls pork processing plant, which has been indefinitely closed. Smithfield Foods said that the Martin City meat processing factory cannot continue to run without the raw materials.

The US meat processing company expects to restart operations in Sioux Falls after it gets further direction from local, state and federal officials. This will also enable the company to resume operations at the Martin City meat processing plant.

According to Smithfield Foods, the Cudahy and Martin City plants are located near urban areas in which community spread of coronavirus has been prevalent. The company said that a small number of employees at the two meat processing plants have tested positive for coronavirus.

COVID-19 hit Smithfield Foods to close two more meat processing plants

COVID-19 hit Smithfield Foods to close two more meat processing plants. Image courtesy of Smithfield Foods, Inc.

Smithfield Foods committed to pay the employees of the two plants for the next couple of weeks during which time essential personnel will undertake the rigorous deep cleaning and sanitization that have been going on at the facilities.

Kenneth M. Sullivan – president and CEO of Smithfield Foods said: “The closure of our Martin City plant is part of the domino effect underway in our industry. It highlights the interdependence and interconnectivity of our food supply chain. Our country is blessed with abundant livestock supplies, but our processing facilities are the bottleneck of our food chain.

“Without plants like Sioux Falls running, other further processing facilities like Martin City cannot function. This is why our government has named food and agriculture critical infrastructure sectors and called on us to maintain operations and normal work schedules. For the security of our nation, I cannot understate how critical it is for our industry to continue to operate unabated.”

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