President Trump Signs Executive Order Under Defense Production Act to Order Meat Processing Plants to Stay OpenTue, 28 Apr 2020 20:23:35 CDT
President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday evening, using the Defense Production Act (DPA) to order meat processing plants to stay open and designating them as critical infrastructure.
The order will apply to all meat processing plants in the U.S. in an effort to prevent further disruptions to the food supply. Trump signaled he would sign this order earlier on Tuesday following estimates that meat production capacity nationwide could be reduced by as much as 80 percent.
“It is important that processors of beef, pork, and poultry ("meat and poultry") in the food supply chain continue operating and fulfilling orders to ensure a continued supply of protein for Americans. However, outbreaks of COVID-19 among workers at some processing facilities have led to the reduction in some of those facilities' production capacity,” the president wrote in the order.
The order delegates the Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to take actions to ensure that meat and poultry processors continue operations.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue released the following statement that Executive Order to keep meat and poultry processing facilities open during the COVID-19 national emergency was signed by the President:
“I thank President Trump for signing this executive order and recognizing the importance of keeping our food supply chain safe, secure, and plentiful. Our nation’s meat and poultry processing facilities play an integral role in the continuity of our food supply chain,” said Secretary Perdue. “Maintaining the health and safety of these heroic employees in order to ensure that these critical facilities can continue operating is paramount. I also want to thank the companies who are doing their best to keep their workforce safe as well as keeping our food supply sustained. USDA will continue to work with its partners across the federal government to ensure employee safety to maintain this essential industry.”
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the Department of Labor have put out guidance for plants to implement to help ensure employee safety to reopen plants or to continue to operate those still open. Under the Executive Order and the authority of the Defense Production Act, USDA will work with meat processing to affirm they will operate in accordance with the CDC and OSHA guidance, and then work with state and local officials to ensure that these plants are allowed to operate to produce the meat protein that Americans need. USDA will continue to work with the CDC, OSHA, FDA, and state and local officials to ensure that facilities implementing this guidance to keep employees safe can continue operating."
The USDA statement concluded by saying that additional information and details will be released soon.
Several pork, beef and poultry plants are currently closed or have been closed and then reopened. There were fears that as much as 80% of the kill capacity could be sidelined as the COVID-19 panic continued.
Click here for a map showing where all major beef and pork plants are in the US- and what their status is.
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