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Smithfield Foods plant closed by coronavirus may reopen after outcry
Smithfield Foods CEO: US processing plants must operate even amid coronavirus
Smithfield CEO Ken Sullivan discusses how the coronavirus is impacting the U.S. pork supply industry.
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U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said he’s working to get a South Dakota pork plant reopened after hundreds of employees tested positive for COVID-19.
Smithfield Foods announced the closure of its Sioux Falls meat processing plant Sunday as a result of the coronavirus cases. State and local officials had urged the company to shutter the plant for 14 days so workers could self-isolate and the plant could be cleaned, the Associated Press reported.
It’s necessary to reopen the plant sooner “to help minimize disruptions to our critical food supply chain, while making sure employees working there are safe,” Perdue tweeted Wednesday.
MEAT SHORTAGE COMING IF CORONAVIRUS CLOSES PROCESSING PLANTS: SMITHFIELD FOODS CEO
Perdue’s comments came after Smithfield Foods CEO Ken Sullivan told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo that plants like the Sioux Falls facility are “the linchpin” between livestock farmers and retailers, meaning there could be a meat shortage if the plants are closed.
"We have to be able to process those pigs in the plants," he said. "When the plants don't operate, we don't even have the meat to sell."