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Tyson Foods Warns: "The Food Supply Chain is Breaking"

An executive at the meat processing giant issued a dire warning over the weekend.
Empty shelves in supermarket

The ill-effects of the coronavirus pandemic is presenting a very serious threat to the nation's food-supply chain. This is according to an executive of Tyson Foods, one of the world's largest suppliers of chicken, beef, and pork products to grocery store shelves.

In a full-page advertisement published Sunday in The New York Times, Washington Post, and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Tyson Foods board chairman John Tyson warned "the food supply chain is breaking" as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

"We have a responsibility to feed our country. It is as essential as healthcare. This is a challenge that should not be ignored. Our plants must remain operational so that we can supply food to our families in America. This is a delicate balance because Tyson Foods places team member safety as our top priority," Tyson wrote.

An image of the full-page ad below:

An outbreak of the COVID-19 contagion led to a Tyson pork processing plant in Iowa to shut down last week. Roughly two weeks ago, the nation's largest producer of pork products shut down its Sioux Falls, South Dakota plant indefinitely due to an outbreak of the coronavirus amongst its workers. As a result, Smithfield Foods warned the general public that the U.S. is inching toward a scary meat shortage.

"It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running," CEO and President Kenneth M. Sullivan is quoted in the announcement. "These facility closures will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain, first and foremost, our nation's livestock farmers. These farmers have nowhere to send their animals."

The coronavirus outbreak has put very dangerous stresses on essential institutions and workers in healthcare, first response, and grocery stores. Overlooked, however, are the workers at food processing plants from which the products on grocery store shelves originate.

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