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US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue praised US for reopening their facilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Image courtesy of Pixabay

USDA Applauds Reopening of Meatpacking Plants in US

US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued a statement on Friday applauding the safe reopening of critical infrastructure meatpacking facilities across the United States. These meatpacking facilities have resumed or plan to resume operations this week following President Trump’s 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 (OSHA) guidelines specifically created for the meat and poultry sector response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in conjunction with the CDC and state and local health officials have 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 last week 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,” said Secretary Perdue. “I want to thank the patriotic and heroic meatpacking facility workers who are returning to work this week so the millions of Americans who depend on them for food security can continue to do so.”

The following major meatpacking facilities are resuming operations across the United States this week:  

- Tyson Perry, IA (pork)
- Tyson Waterloo, IA (pork)
- Tyson Logansport, IN (pork)
- Tyson Robards, KY (poultry)
- Tyson Portland, ME (further processor)
- Tyson Pasco, WA (beef)
- Tyson Dakota City, NE (beef)
- Aurora Packing, Aurora, IL (beef)
- JBS Green Bay, WI (beef)
- JBS Worthington, MN (pork)
- Smithfield Monmouth, IL (pork)
- Smithfield Sioux Falls, SD (pork)
-  Indiana Packers, IN (pork)
- Jennie-O Turkey Store, Wilmar, MN (poultry)

CDC and OSHA have put out guidance for plants to implement to help ensure employee safety to reopen plants or to continue to operate those still open. Under the Executive Order and the authority of the Defense Production Act, USDA will work with meat processing facilities to affirm they will operate in accordance with the CDC and OSHA guidance, and then work with state and local officials to ensure that these plants are allowed to operate to produce the meat protein that Americans need. USDA will continue to work with the CDC, OSHA, FDA, and state and local officials to ensure that facilities implementing this guidance to keep employees safe can continue operating.

On May 5 Secretary Perdue issued letters to Governors across the nation and leadership of major meat processing companies. These letters establish the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) clear expectations for the implementation of President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order signed last week.

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