The closure of a third meat-producing plant has left the U.S. "perilously close" to a meat shortage, the company's CEO warns.
Smithfield Foods officials on Monday decided to shut down their Sioux Falls, South Dakota plant after close to 300 of their employees tested positive for COVID-19, the company announced. The plant is the largest producer of meat products in the U.S. Smithfield CEO Kenneth Sullivan says the closure could have devastating effects on the country's meat supply in coming weeks.
"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," Sullivan says. The closure is the second to occur in Pennsylvania, following the shutdown of a JBS USA plant.
Last week, Tyson Foods also shuttered its plant in Iowa. The impact of the shutdowns will likely hurt more than just U.S. consumers, Sullivan predicts. "These facility closures will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain, first and foremost our nation's livestock farmers," he says. "These farmers have nowhere to send their animals."