US Meat Plant Worker Tests Positive for Coronavirus - Modern Farmer

US Meat Plant Worker Tests Positive for Coronavirus

And it’s in one of the biggest producers.

Processed raw chicken.
Photography by Olga Korotova on Shutterstock

Well, it was bound to happen.

With COVID-19 causing both massive runs on food in grocery stores and a concerning shortage of farmworkers, keeping the food industry producing food is a significant concern. That isn’t going to get any easier now that the first employee at a meat plant has tested positive for the virus, according to Reuters.

The company involved, Sanderson Farms, is one of the largest poultry producers in the United States. The company told Reuters that the person who tested positive worked at a single small processing table in a Mississippi plant. As a result of the positive test, the company says that the employee and six others who work nearby were sent home to self-isolate—with pay, thankfully—and the entire area was cleaned thoroughly.

Meat processing is a difficult industry during this COVID-19 pandemic, because producing food is both essential and basically impossible to do remotely. Despite the country rampaging through grocery stores to stock up, supplies of food have not actually been interrupted very much to this point; if stores are empty now, it’s simply because they’ve sold out and are waiting for regular deliveries.

But because sales are so high right now, the major meat processing companies in the US faced criticism for securing huge profits while employees are paid the same in suddenly more dangerous environments. Earlier this week, Tyson Foods announced that it would pay a slight premium to farmers and ranchers for their goods, to make up part of that gap.

In any case, coronavirus carriers in meat processing plants are not considered any greater public health risks than coronavirus carriers anywhere else. Theoretically, meat processing plants are required to be quite clean, with employees using protective gear like masks and gloves, and the USDA says that its own food inspections (which include meat) will go on as before.

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4 years ago

So there was no point to the article! Except to incite fear! Thanks for helping

Kenneth Pleasant
4 years ago

I don’t see why they didn’t ban these meat companies like they did in China to prevent the spread. Since all zoonotic diseases come from animals and transferred to humans.

Angie Esplana
4 years ago

Well from what I’ve read about where most of our meats come from these days is China, not so much here in US anymore. Now if that isn’t a health risk in its self I don’t know what is. My question is why in the world would we allow our meat products and our pharmaceuticals to be handles and manufactured in China? Everyone is all up in arms about this covid-19, yet no one gives a dam about being at risk for all kinds of things by allowing those two critical products to be produced over there.

Nikitta Peterson
4 years ago

I work for pilgrim Russellville and everyone knows people walking into work sick no one is trying to shut down not company owners management
or Usda and they know we have comfirmed cases in there and we work elbow to elbow thank you America for putting thr meat plant workers at risk with no hazard pay or anything now we can’t be safe around our love ones

John O
4 years ago

And what virus test were used on these people? The anti-body tests are NOT diagnostic and should not be used to shut down an entire industry. There is the possibility of crimes against humanity here in putting the U.S. food supply at risks for tests that are wildly flawed.

Gael Murphy
4 years ago

Dead animals are not FOOD!
Hens are tortured in the meat industry.
The cruel habit of Eating animals is what CAUSED this zoonotic pandemic!