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calendar   Wednesday - April 22, 2020

Time to go vegan?

The meat industry has been hit really hard by this virus. Maybe it has something to do with all the third world immigrants who work there, I can’t say.

Beef and pork processing is the worst hit, so far. Chickens to follow?

Tyson Closing Pork Plant
Several others have closed already as COVID sweeps through the meat processing industry

Tyson Foods announced Wednesday that it is suspending operations indefinitely at a large Iowa pork processing plant linked to a growing coronavirus outbreak.

The company warned that its closing of the Waterloo, Iowa, plant would be a blow to hog farmers and potentially disrupt the nation’s pork supply. Tyson had kept the plant open in recent days over the objections of the mayor and other local officials.

The plant employs nearly 3,000 workers and can process about 19,500 hogs per day, about 4% of the U.S. pork processing capacity.

More than 180 infections had been confirmed among plant workers earlier this week and officials expect that number to rise. In addition to those infected, hundreds of workers had stayed home from work out of fear of catching the virus.

The announcement comes as employers have struggled to contain the virus in large meatpacking plants, where workers toil side by side on production lines and often share locker rooms, cafeterias and rides to work. Several other packing plants have temporarily closed after large outbreaks, including a Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and a JBS USA plant in Worthington, Minnesota.

“Despite our continued efforts to keep our people safe while fulfilling our critical role of feeding American families, the combination of worker absenteeism, COVID-19 cases and community concerns has resulted in our decision to stop production,” Tyson Fresh Meats president Steve Stouffer said in a statement.

He warned that the closure would have “significant ramifications beyond our company” since it’s part of a supply chain that includes farmers, truckers, distributors and grocers.




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If the packing plants can’t run, then there’s no meat for anyone. If the farmers can’t sell the livestock to the packing plants then the whole industry collapses. And then we all have to start living on beans and lentils. The only other way is to send live animals to the local butchers. And we really don’t have that kind of supply chain.

A very similar situation exists for other kinds of farms too, the ones that rely on large numbers of illegals, migrants, and unskilled immigrant workers to harvest the crops. These folks seem to be getting sicker more than others. Working conditions, living conditions, overall health? I have no idea why.

So this is going to really, really suck. End of Days kind of suck.

Coronavirus pandemic ‘will cause famine of biblical proportions’

The world is facing widespread famine “of biblical proportions” because of the coronavirus pandemic, the chief of the UN’s food relief agency has warned, with a short time to act before hundreds of millions starve.

More than 30 countries in the developing world could experience widespread famine, and in 10 of those countries there are already more than 1 million people on the brink of starvation, said David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme.

“We are not talking about people going to bed hungry,” he told the Guardian in an interview. “We are talking about extreme conditions, emergency status – people literally marching to the brink of starvation. If we don’t get food to people, people will die.”

Covid-19 is likely to be sweeping through the developing world but its spread is hard to gauge. What appears to be certain is that the fragile healthcare systems of scores of developing countries will be unable to cope, and the economic disaster following in the wake of the pandemic will lead to huge strain on resources.

“This is truly more than just a pandemic – it is creating a hunger pandemic,” said Beasley. “This is a humanitarian and food catastrophe.”

Perhaps the harshest truth is that shutting down society is the wrong idea. Even if COVID-19 is far more fatal than we know. Even if 10 - 20% of the population dies from it, nationwide or worldwide. The rest of us have to continue.

Yeah, and maybe it’s time for another Upton Sinclair, to illuminate the working conditions in these plants. So that somebody can find a more healthy way of doing things, and implement that change ASAP. Because if they don’t, then it’s grow your own beans time. Which doesn’t work at all for urban dwellers.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/22/2020 at 09:33 AM   
Filed Under: • Foodpandemic and epidemic diseases •  
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