December 21, 2020

Cargill will temporarily close Ontario, Canada beef plant because of COVID-19


Cargill will temporarily close its Guelph, Ontario beef processing plant due to a COVID-19 outbreak among workers, Reuters reported.


The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health agency said Cargill voluntarily agreed to close the plant after 82 workers there tested positive for COVID-19. 129 other people are self-isolating.


Jon Nash, Cargill's North America leader for protein, said all meat in the facility will be processed to prevent food waste. No date has been set for the plant's reopening.


There are 950 workers employed at the Guelph beef plant, which processes 1,500 head of cattle daily. All workers will continue to be paid during the plant's closure.


The Guelph plant is the latest plant to shut down due to COVID-19, but the biggest closure occurred at Cargill's High River, Alberta plant, which has three times the processing capacity of the Guelph plant.


Meatpackers have introduced preventive measures to prevent future COVID-19 outbreaks, including greater physical separation at plants.


The industry group Beef Farmers of Ontario had asked the governments of Canada and Ontario to activate a programme that covers the cost of feeding cattle longer when there is insufficient slaughter capacity because of meat plant closures.


- Reuters