Report: At least 59,000 meat workers contracted COVID-19, 269 died | Health and fitness
In response to the report, the North American Meat Institute trade group defended the industry’s response to the pandemic.
“Frontline meat and poultry workers were among the first affected by the pandemic, but publicly available data confirms that comprehensive measures implemented in the sector since spring 2020, including expanded efforts infection prevention and immunization programs, have been successful in protecting the industry’s dedicated and diverse workforce as they continue to feed Americans and run our economy, ”said Julie Anna Potts, President and CEO of the management of the commercial group.
The report is based on documents from JBS, Tyson Foods, Smithfield Foods, Cargill and National Beef. Together, they control over 80% of the U.S. beef market and over 60% of the nationwide pork market.
Cargill, Tyson and JBS on Wednesday released statements saying they had worked aggressively to meet federal health and safety standards for the coronavirus and had taken additional steps to protect their employees, such as performing widespread testing at most outbreak of the pandemic and urge employees to get vaccinated.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have worked hard to maintain safe and consistent operations. At the same time, we have not hesitated to temporarily slow down or reduce the capacity of processing plants when we deemed it necessary, ”said Cargill spokesperson Daniel Sullivan.