Smithfield releases statement on COVID-19 response

Smithfield Pork

Smithfield Foods is one of several meat producers that have had to shut down plants across the country due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ken Sullivan, the President & CEO of Smithfield Foods released a statement Monday on how the company is addressing the outbreak and taking steps to ensure the safety of their employees.

Smithfield has instituted a series of stringent and detailed processes and protocols that follow, and many cases exceed, the strict guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The company also addressed why employees are still reporting to work stating:

Our more than 40,000 U.S. team members, thousands of American family farmers and our many other supply chain partners are a crucial part of our nation’s response to COVID-19. On March 19, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security issued Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19, which classifies workers in the Food and Agriculture sector as essential critical infrastructure workers. This includes agricultural production, food processing, distribution, retail and food service and allied industries.

If a Smithfield employee tests positive for COVID-19 the company will instruct that worker to remain isolated onsite if they are at work, or not report to work altogether. That employee will be quarantine with pay and will be asked to identify all coworkers whom they have worked in close proximity with in the last 14 days.

Smithfield stresses that according to the FDA there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19