John Tyson, the chairman of Tyson Foods, warned in full-page ads published in The New York Times and The Washington Post on Sunday that as more meat plants are being forced to close amid the coronavirus crisis, “millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain.”
Tyson has been forced to close multiple plants after weeks of public pressure. The company, “which employs roughly 100,000 workers, closed its pork plants in Waterloo, Iowa, and Logansport, Indiana, last week so that workers in those facilities could be tested for the virus,” CNN reports. “The Waterloo plant closure came after weeks of public pressure. Production had already slowed there because many of its 2,800 workers had been calling out sick, and local health authorities linked the Tyson plant to 182 cases — nearly half of the county’s total.”
While the company is “taking steps to protect its workers, including installing dividers between workers and relaxing its attendance policy to allow sick workers to stay home,” as reported by NBC News, the plants remained close. The significant disruption in meat production caused by the closures — which other companies, inlacing Smithfield Foods, are also facing — is leading to a food supply crisis, Tyson explained in the statement Sunday.
“In small communities around the country where we employ over 100,000 hard-working men and women, we’re being forced to shutter our doors,” said Tyson. “This means one thing — the food supply chain is vulnerable. As pork, beef and chicken plants are being forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain. As a result, there will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed.”