June 25, 2020
US meat plants to be investigated over record pork exports to China
United States Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker are questioning Tyson Foods, JBS USA, Cargill and Smithfield Foods that pressed to continue operations citing a domestic meat shortage, even though the US hit record high pork exports to China, Fox News reported.
The senators questioned what the meat plants did to safeguard workers from the virus, especially as meat plants became COVID-19 clusters.
In letters addressed to the companies, Warren and Booker said the companies had allowed workers to be susceptible to COVID-19 to get a federal license to continue operations, on the basis of a potential food shortage.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said there are 4,913 infected meat plant workers, with 20 deaths. The CDC said this was because meat plants did not address poor hygiene at plants, crowded living and transportation, as well as no social distancing measures.
While meat plants claim there is a domestic supply shortage, with grocery stores and supermarkets introducing a purchase limit on meat, US President Donald Trump had maintained that the US will not reduce its meat exports to China.
The US Meat Export Federation said pork and pork variety meat exports was 31% of all US production. CNBC said one third of that amount accounted for exports to China. In April this year, the US exported 1.1 million tonnes of pork meat, a 35% year-on-year increase.
China said it will halt poultry imports from a Tyson Foods plant in Arkansas because it reported a COVID-19 outbreak. 227 workers at the plant were infected.
- Fox News