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Smithfield coronavirus shutdown concerns shortage-wary meat industry
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The closure of a Smithfield Foods plant in South Dakota, one of the largest pork processing plants in the U.S., after hundreds of employees tested positive for coronavirus has the industry warning about another issue — a meat shortage.
“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," Smithfield CEO Kenneth Sullivan said in a statement Sunday.
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The American Association of Meat Processors expressed concern over the Sioux Falls plant's closure, which came after pressure from South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken.
"Normally the closure of a plant would not have a huge impact on supply, but the demand on meat and poultry during this pandemic has been vast," AAMP Executive Director Chris Young told FOX Business. "There is a concern that more companies could end up in the same situation as Smithfield. … Many companies are screening employees and others who enter their plants on a daily basis, as well as trying to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing when they can."