Smithfield Foods closing 2 more facilities after COVID-19 forces shutdown of major plant

Coronavirus

SMITHFIELD, Va. (WNCN) – Smithfield Foods, Inc. announced Wednesday it will close two smaller facilities due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company will close facilities in Cudahy, Wisconsin, and Martin City, Missouri. The Wisconsin facility is a dry sausage and bacon plant. It will shutter for two weeks.

The Missouri location, which employs more than 400 people, produces spiral and smoked hams, according to a news release.

Both locations are in close proximity to urban areas in which coronavirus spread has been prevalent, Smithfield Foods said.

“A small number of employees at both plants have tested positive for COVID-19,” the release said.

The Virginia-based company had already said Sunday it was closing a major pork plant in South Dakota after hundreds of employees tested positive for COVID-19. That decision came a day after South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken wrote to Smithfield and urged the company to suspend operations for 14 days so that its workers could self-isolate and the plant could be disinfected.

The Missouri plant that will be closing soon receives raw materials from the South Dakota plant, the release said.

“From farm to fork, our nation’s food workers, American family farmers and the many others in the supply chain are vital to the security of our country. This is particularly evident as we battle COVID-19 together. Please join me in thanking them.

“The closure of our Martin City plant is part of the domino effect underway in our industry. It highlights the interdependence and interconnectivity of our food supply chain. Our country is blessed with abundant livestock supplies, but our processing facilities are the bottleneck of our food chain. Without plants like Sioux Falls running, other further processing facilities like Martin City cannot function. This is why our government has named food and agriculture critical infrastructure sectors and called on us to maintain operations and normal work schedules. For the security of our nation, I cannot understate how critical it is for our industry to continue to operate unabated.

“We are doing everything in our power to help protect our team members from COVID-19 in the workplace. This starts with stringent and detailed processes and protocols that follow the strict guidance of the CDC and extends to things like the use of thermal scanning, personal protective equipment and physical barriers, to name a few. We are also being explicit with employees: ‘Do not report to work if you are sick or exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. You will be paid.’”

Kenneth M. Sullivan, Smithfield Foods, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer

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