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Smithfield Closes One Of Nation's Largest Pork Plants, Says Meat Supply 'Close To The Edge'

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Smithfield Closes One Of Nation's Largest Pork Plants, Says Meat Supply 'Close To The Edge'

The COVID-19 economic shutdown may soon be impacting Americans’ dinner tables. On Sunday, Smithfield Foods announced it is closing its Sioux Falls, South Dakota facility until further notice, and experts say the closure could threaten the nation’s pork supply.

The Smithfield plant produces between 4% and 5% of the nation’s pork. The company made the decision to shutter the plant due to 240 employees falling ill.

The Sioux Falls facility is just the latest meat plant to suspend operations due to the outbreak. Last week, Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) closed its Columbus Junction, Iowa pork plant. JBS USA also temporarily stopped production at its beef plant in Souderton, Pennsylvania, but plans to reopen on April 16.

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Smithfield CEO Comments

The plant closure could make it difficult for grocery stores to remain stocked, Smithfield's CEO said in a statement.

“The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply,” said CEO Kenneth Sullivan.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has said there is no evidence of COVID-19 transmission via food or food packaging.

Smithfield said its workers will continue to receive compensation for the next two weeks.

Benzinga’s Take

The closure of meat production plants highlights the difficult question of which U.S. businesses are essential and which are not. If Americans’ food supply becomes threatened, the risk of nationwide panic may be more threatening than the virus itself.

Do you agree with this take? Email feedback@benzinga.com with your thoughts.

Related Links:

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Beyond Meat Facing Increased Competition As Demand Heats Up

 

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