The coronavirus pandemic has seen businesses in all sectors face closures with the food industry being no exception. As multiple food processing facilities shut down due to workers contracting the disease, one executive at Tyson Foods warns that “the food supply chain is breaking.”
The Hill reports that Tyson Foods board chairman, John Tyson, took out a full-page ad in the New York Time, Washington Post and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette to highlight the pressure the coronavirus pandemic has put on the food industry. “Millions of animals—chickens, pigs and cattle—will be depopulated because of the closure of our processing facilities,” Tyson wrote. The continued closures will result in farmers having no place to sell their livestock. Consumers will also feel the effects of the closures. “There will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed,” Tyson added.
Tyson has closed facilities in Logansport, Ind., and Waterloo, Iowa. The Waterloo plant has been connected to at least 182 cases of COVID-19. Rival food distributor, Smithfield has closed a facility in Sioux Falls, S.D., after one employee died from contracting the disease. JBS closed it’s Worthington, Minn. facility. The Worthington, Waterloo and Sioux Falls facilities are responsible for 15 percent of the nation’s pork supply.
Workers at Tyson’s Waterloo facility told CNN that conditions in the plant made it impossible to practice social distancing and that the company waited too long to implement proper protocols. Tyson wrote in the ad that the company is administering daily temperature checks and requires all employees to wear face masks.