- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says production of beef, pork and poultry is operating at only a 5% decline compared to a year ago, despite shutdowns of meatpacking plants due to the coronavirus.

“I want to thank the patriotic and heroic meatpacking facility workers, the companies, and the local authorities for quickly getting their operations back up and running, and for providing a great meat selection once again to the millions of Americans who depend on them for food,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a written statement.

As of Wednesday, nearly 30,000 meatpacking workers were made sick with COVID-19 and more than 100 workers had died, according to the Food & Environment Reporting Network.

Early last month, shuttered meatpacking facilities from Kentucky to Iowa to Washington state began resuming operations, albeit under new safety guidelines, says the USDA.

In late April, President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to restart operations, arguing that the decline in meat production threatened food security around the nation. Earlier that month, Smithfield Foods’ CEO Ken Sullivan had said the U.S. meat supply as “perilously close” to a shortage.

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