China-owned Smithfield Foods forced to close meat packing plants in three US locations

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Three China-owned Smithfield Foods meat processing plants have shut down as a result of coronavirus outbreaks among the workforce, suggesting that food shortages at the consumer end might possibly be the result.

In 2013,  Shuanghui International Holdings of China, now known as the WH Group, bought out Smithfield, America’s largest pork producer, in a $5 billion transaction that won the approval of the Obama administration. At the time, it was the largest acquisition of an American firm by a Chinese company.

The pandemic has reaffirmed that the U.S. must be fully independent of the global supply chain, which apparently also includes the domestic food supply chain when any of it is owned by the ruling Communist Party of China or an entity from another country.

In other words, buy American in America, too.

Even as a private citizen, President Trump long warned about the one-sided economic influence of China and other countries upon the U.S. market.

Smithfield’s Sioux Falls, S.D., plant closed indefinitely after 500-plus employees and an additional 100 or so family members tested positive for COVID-19.  That location produces five percent of U.S. pork production. About 3,700 employees work at the plant, which is said to be the biggest single-source hotspot for the virus in the country.

Since then, facilities in Cudahy, Wisc., and Martin City, Mo., have also gone offline, at least temporarily, after a “small number” of employees came down with the disease. These plants are scheduled for deep cleaning and sanitization.

In guidance as of March 17, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintains that “Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.”

The company CEO indicated that “Smithfield has implemented rigorous protocols to try to protect workers, use of thermal scanning, personal protective equipment and physical barriers,” the Daily Mail reported.

The Epoch Times claims that the company offered $500 bonuses to workers who stayed on the job even after the first coronavirus case emerged.

Twitter users have weighed in on the disturbing developments at Smithfield Foods, particularly the eyebrow-raising China connection.

Look:

Gov. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) has pushed back against media criticism that she declined to implement a stay-at-home order for the entire state.

“Regardless if I had chosen to put a shelter-in-place order across the state of South Dakota, that plant would have been up and operating because it’s such an important part of our food supply and, frankly, having it running is a national security issue,” she said.

The state is aggressively testing employees and anyone who came in contact with them, according to Noem, along with imposing isolation requirements.

A team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is headed to the plant for an inspection today.

Several other meat processors, such as Tyson Foods, JBS USA, and Cargill have suspended operations at least temporarily when some employees fell sick.

Robert Jonathan

Staff Writer
[email protected]

Robert Jonathan is a staff writer for BizPac Review. He is a longtime writer/editor for news aggregation websites and has also developed content in the legal and financial publishing sectors as well as for online education. He earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Connecticut School of Law, “a law school the basketball teams can be proud of.”
Robert Jonathan

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