November 12, 2020
US meat company sues state health department to stay open following COVID-19 cases
United States meat company Stampede Meat, which supplies Costco and Walmart, is suing the New Mexico state Department of Health to stay open after the department ordered them to close for 14 days following several COVID-19 cases detected among its workers, Reuters reported.
The Stampede Meat lawsuit argues that it should stay open following US President Donald Trump's executive order. The order announced in April allowed meat plants to stay open to ensure the country's food supply.
The New Mexico Department of Health ordered Stampede Meat to close for two weeks after the department confirmed six COVID-19 cases among its workers in a five day period in October.
In Stampede Meat's lawsuit, the company said a closure would mean they would be forced to destroy millions of pounds of meat.
Both the company and the New Mexico health department did not reply to requests for comment.
Marisa Maez, spokeswoman for the department, said at least 11 workers tested positive for COVID-19 in the two weeks after the state ordered the plant has closed, with 100 workers total testing positive.
In the company's lawsuit, Stampede Meat said it had reached out to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for assistance in testing their workers. A spokesman for the USDA said they have offered to assist New Mexico with managing the pandemic and safeguarding food supplies.