Tyson Foods Suspends Operations at Pork Plant in Waterloo, Iowajwasilewski
Tyson Foods is suspending operations at its Waterloo plant indefinitely due to outbreaks of COVID-19.
The Waterloo plant is Tyson Food’s largest pork plant, harvesting 19,000 pigs a day. It has been operating at reduced levels because of worker absenteeism, Tyson Foods said in a KWWL 7 News report.
On Tuesday, the Black Hawk County Board of Health issued a statement to Governor Reynolds and Tyson Foods asking for the plant to be temporarily shut down. According to KWWL, the proclamation passed unanimously Tuesday morning during a special meeting of the county’s Board of Health. More than 182 cases were reported as of Tuesday related to the Waterloo plant.
The facility’s 2,800 workers will be invited to the plant later this week for COVID-19 testing.
“Protecting our team members is our top priority and the reason we’ve implemented numerous safety measures during this challenging and unprecedented time,” said Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats in a statement. “Despite our continued efforts to keep our people safe while fulfilling our critical role of feeding American families, the combination of worker absenteeism, COVID-19 cases and community concerns has resulted in our decision to stop production.”
Workers will continue to receive pay while the plant is closed, KWWL reports. The plant’s reopening will depend on several factors, including the outcome of employee COVID-19 testing.
“The closure has significant ramifications beyond our company, since the plant is part of a larger supply chain that includes hundreds of independent farmers, truckers, distributors and customers, including grocers,” Stouffer said. “It means the loss of a vital market outlet for farmers and further contributes to the disruption of the nation’s pork supply.”
Some of the hogs intending to be harvested at the plant in Waterloo were able to be diverted on Tuesday to the Columbus Junction, Iowa, plant that reopened after being shuttered since April 6, 2020.Content within the Farm Journal Forum is the property of Farm Journal, Inc and protected by copyright.