In recent weeks, the poultry producer has suspended operations at plants across the country., the poultry producer has suspended operations at plants across the country.
The chairman of Tyson Foods is warning that “millions of pounds of meat will disappear” from the national food supply chain as the coronavirus outbreak forces food processing plants to shutter.
“The food supply chain is breaking,” John Tyson wrote in a full-page advertisement published Sunday in The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
“There will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed,” he wrote in the advertisement.
In recent weeks, the major poultry producer has suspended operations at plants across the country. The company halted operations Wednesday at an Iowa plant that is crucial to the nation’s pork supply.
“In addition to meat shortages, this is a serious food waste issue. Farmers across the nation simply will not have anywhere to sell their livestock to be processed, when they could have fed the nation,” John Tyson wrote.
“Millions of animals — chickens, pigs and cattle — will be depopulated because of the closure of our processing facilities,” he added.
Four employees of Tyson’s operations in rural southwest Georgia died this month after having become infected with the coronavirus, a company spokesman told The Associated Press.
Tyson has told NBC News that it is taking steps to protect its workers, including installing dividers between workers and relaxing its attendance policy to allow sick workers to stay home.
Tyson isn’t the only company to shutter plants. Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork processor, has temporarily closed plants across the country as some of its workers have become sickened. The company’s CEO also warned of supply chain issues when it closed its Sioux Falls, South Dakota, plant after more than 400 employees tested positive for the coronavirus. Smithfield says the Sioux Falls plant is one of the largest pork processing facilities in the U.S.