Smithfield Foods closes ANOTHER meat packing plant in Illinois as coronavirus outbreaks threaten to plunge food supply chain into crisis

Meat packing giant Smithfield Foods has said that it will close another meat packing plant due to a coronavirus outbreak among employees.
Smithfield said in a statement on Friday that it will indefinitely close its plant in Monmouth, Illinois after 'a small portion' of the 1,700 employees there tested positive for COVID-19.
The Monmouth plant processes approximately 3 percent of the U.S. supply of fresh pork, and also produces bacon. 
It follows closures of Smithfield plants in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where 5 percent of American pork is processed, as well as in Wisconsin and Missouri, and closures of multiple Tyson Foods plants and dozens of others across the country. 
The Smithfield plant in Monmouth, Illinois (above) closed indefinitely on Friday
The Smithfield plant in Monmouth, Illinois (above) closed indefinitely on Friday
Several major plants across the US have been forced to reduce operations or close altogether due to outbreaks among their employees. The disruptions have caused a decline in the number of animals being slaughtered because there are not enough plants still functioning for farmers to send their livestock to
Several major plants across the US have been forced to reduce operations or close altogether due to outbreaks among their employees. The disruptions have caused a decline in the number of animals being slaughtered because there are not enough plants still functioning for farmers to send their livestock to 

The FDA has said there is no evidence to associate food or food packaging with the transmission of coronavirus. 
But the shutdowns are spurring fears of a collapse in the beef and pork supply chain that could result in shortages and higher prices for consumers.

Smithfield said its employees in Monmouth will be paid during the closure.  
More than 5,000 US meat and food-processing workers have been infected with or exposed to coronavirus and 13 have died, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union said on Thursday. 
The company said that it has been 'proactively and aggressively tackling COVID-19' at its facilities by implementing new processes, protocols and protective measures.
Smithfield also noted that 'the inherent nature of meat processing, which is labor intensive, assembly line style production, makes social distancing particularly challenging.' 
Hogs are kept in a barn, ready to be sold earlier this month, at Prestige Pork in Inwood, Iowa. The farm supplies the shuttered Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls
Hogs are kept in a barn, ready to be sold earlier this month, at Prestige Pork in Inwood, Iowa. The farm supplies the shuttered Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls 

In addition to providing masks and protective gear for all employees, Smithfield said it has implemented thermal scanning companywide and installed plexiglass and other physical barriers on production floors and in break rooms. 
'The company has been explicitly instructing employees not to report to work if they are sick and that they will be paid,' the company said 
It is also urging its team members to take steps to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 outside the workplace.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report this week criticizing a number of practices at the Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls, which processed 5 percent of the nation's pork before it was shuttered indefinitely on April 15.
Efforts to control the virus at the massive plant, which employs 3,500 people, were hampered by language barriers, the CDC said.
The CDC report says that at the Sioux Falls plant, which has a large immigrant workforce, some 40 different languages are spoken, with the top 10 being English, Spanish, Kunama, Swahili, Nepali, Tigrinya, Amharic, French, Oromo, and Vietnamese.
'Management expressed that communicating messages to their diverse staff presented challenges due to the number of languages spoken,' the report says, noting that this raised issues in rolling out new sanitation and social distancing guidelines. 
The CDC recommended that the plant add more posters with pictograms and that it use additional languages to communicate vital information to the workforce.
The CDC memo specifically addressed the situation at the Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls but that also may give an indication of the broader recommendations that the agency is working on for meat processing plants nationwide. 
The CDC report issued this week criticized a number of practices at the plant in Sioux Falls (above), which processed 5 percent of the nation's pork before it was shuttered
The CDC report issued this week criticized a number of practices at the plant in Sioux Falls (above), which processed 5 percent of the nation's pork before it was shuttered

The meat aisle at a Publix in Atlanta is seen stripped bare last month. Mounting meat processing closures are spurring fears of a breakdown in the food supply chain
The meat aisle at a Publix in Atlanta is seen stripped bare last month. Mounting meat processing closures are spurring fears of a breakdown in the food supply chain
Smithfield Foods closes ANOTHER meat packing plant in Illinois as coronavirus outbreaks threaten to plunge food supply chain into crisis Smithfield Foods closes ANOTHER meat packing plant in Illinois as coronavirus outbreaks threaten to plunge food supply chain into crisis Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 07:54 Rating: 5

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