Smithfield pushes back after claims it blamed immigrant workers for coronavirus cluster
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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Smithfield Foods is pushing back after media reports that it blamed immigrant workers for a coronavirus cluster at its temporarily closed Sioux Falls, South Dakota, pork processing plant.
"We're proud of the multi-culturalism on display every day throughout many of our facilities, including in Sioux Falls," the company said in a statement. "Our employees are our strength. They come from all over the world and speak dozens of languages and dialects. Our position is this: We cannot fight this virus by finger-pointing. We all have a responsibility to slow the spread."
STOPPING CORONAVIRUS IN US MEAT PLANTS NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE, EXPERTS SAY
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended that the operators of the South Dakota meatpacking plant where nearly 800 workers contracted the coronavirus implement a strict social distancing policy and find ways to overcome language barriers.
The CDC memo specifically addressed the situation at the Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls but it may also give an indication of the broader recommendations that the agency is working on for meat processing plants nationwide. Smithfield closed the plant indefinitely because of the outbreak and faced complaints that it wasn't doing enough to protect its workers.