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Smithfield meatpacking plant shuttering ‘indefinitely’

Video credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on April 13, 2020 - Duration: 01:28s

Smithfield meatpacking plant shuttering ‘indefinitely’

The world's biggest pork processor, Smithfield Foods, said on Sunday it will shut a U.S. plant indefinitely after dozens of employees tested positive for the coronavirus.

Gloria Tso reports.

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Smithfield meatpacking plant shuttering ‘indefinitely’

The world's biggest pork processor, Smithfield Foods, said on Sunday (April 12) it will shut a U.S. plant indefinitely after dozens of employees tested positive for the coronavirus.

It is one of several U.S. meat and poultry processors that have put operations on hold, leaving farmers without an outlet for livestock, and crimping the availability of meat at retail stores in a major disruption of the country's food supply chain.

The plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota is one of the nation's largest pork processing facilities, accounting for around 4 to 5% of U.S. pork production, according to the company.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said on Saturday (April 11) over 200 Smithfield employees have now tested positive for the virus, accounting for over half of the state's cases.

Noem and Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken have recommended closing the plant of almost 4,000 workers for at least two weeks.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MAYOR OF SIOUX FALLS, PAUL TENHAKEN, SAYING: "Our top priority continues to be public health and minimizing the spread of this virus, which is why we're taking the work we're doing with Smithfield and the conversations we're having with them very seriously." Smithfield Chief Executive Ken Sullivan said in a statement on Sunday that the company will continue paying employees for the next two weeks.

The company has still been running its plants to supply American consumers during the outbreak.

Smithfield said it will resume operations in Sioux Falls after further direction from local, state and federal officials.

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