Eight Meatpacking Plants Close In Weeks Across America Stoking Food Shortage Fears

Thursday, April 23, 2020
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
ZeroHedge.com
Thu, 04/23/2020

Update (April 23): Food shortages across the country are coming a lot quicker than anyone has anticipated. A total of eight meatpacking plants have already gone offline in weeks. On Thursday morning, we noted how pork shortages could hit households by the first week of May.

Now we’re starting to learn the dominos are falling, with meatpacking plants shuttering operations across the country because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Tyson Foods Inc. has announced the third plant closure in about a week and the second closure within 24 hours. The latest announcement crossed the wires on Thursday afternoon, specifies how a major beef facility in Pasco, Washington, is shutting down operations because of the virus outbreak, reported Bloomberg.

“We’re working with local health officials to bring the plant back to full operation as soon as we believe it to be safe,” Steve Stouffer, head of Tyson Fresh Meats, said in the company’s statement.

“Unfortunately, the closure will mean reduced food supplies and presents problems to farmers who have no place to take their livestock. It’s a complicated situation across the supply chain.”

In total, eight major meatpacking plants have closed in the last several weeks. We noted on Thursday morning that a “rash of coronavirus outbreaks at dozens of meatpacking plants across the nation is far more extensive than previously thought.”

As for the plant in Washington, well, it produces enough beef to feed four million people per day. Just imagine what happens when people who have just lost their jobs experience food shortages, or maybe rapid food inflation. It could be a trigger for social unrest.

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Update (19:50): It appears meatpacking facilities in America’s heartland could be the next epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

On Wednesday, Tyson Foods announced two closures of meatpacking facilities because of coronavirus related issues.

Here’s the timeline of closures:

We noted around 0900 ET that Tyson was closing its meatpacking plant in Waterloo, Iowa.
Around 1800 ET, Tyson announced the second closure of a meatpacking plant, located in Logansport, Indiana.
Both plants are preparing for closure due to coronavirus related issues, with planned testing of all workers in the near term.

The Logansport’s facility “produces three million pounds of pork daily and helps support more than 250 independent family farmers from across nine states, suspended production for one day on April 20 for additional deep cleaning and sanitizing. Since then, the facility has been running at limited production and is expected to stop production on or before Saturday, April 25,” said a Tyson Foods press release.

“While we understand the necessity of keeping our facilities operational so that we can continue to feed the nation, the safety of our team members remains our top priority,” said Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats.

“Our company is deeply embedded in our plant communities, including Logansport. We’re working with the county to make sure our people and the community are safe. The combination of worker absenteeism, COVID-19 cases and community concerns has resulted in a collective decision to close.”

The reopening of the plant will depend on several factors, including the results of a COVID-19 test of workers.

We have noted the closure of meatpacking plants across the country will trigger supply disruptions and lead to product shortages in the near term.

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