© Des Moines Register
Officials have revealed that more than half the workers tested for Covid-19 at Tyson Foods’ Perry, Iowa plant were infected with the virus.
The Iowa Department of Public Health, cited by Des Moines Register, told a daily news conference that 730 of the plant’s employees – 58% of those tested – had been found to have contracted the virus.
The Department also reported outbreak numbers for two other Tyson facilities in Iowa – 444 cases at the meat processor’s Waterloo plant and 221 at the facility in Columbus Junction.
The announcement coincides with news of the reopening of a number of Tyson plants, including the Waterloo facility. The pork processing plant – which had 17% positive tests – is set to resume operations tomorrow, while the firm’s Pasco, Washington beef facility resumed production yesterday.
The Perry plant has also reopened this week after closing temporarily in late-April for “deep cleaning”.
The meat industry has been hard hit by the pandemic, with numerous processors such as JBS, Smithfield Foods and Cargill, reducing production or suspending operations altogether, at facilities following outbreaks.
Such closures have sparked concerns about meat shortages and at the end of April, US President Donald Trump issued an executive order invoking the Defense Production Act to force plants to stay open.
The President told reporters in the Oval Office that the shuttering of facilities threatened “the continued functioning of the national meat and poultry supply chain, undermining critical infrastructure during the national emergency”.
The move has prompted a backlash from unions.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020