President Donald Trump plans to order meat processing plants to remain open amid the coronavirus outbreak as a wave of recent plant closures have put America’s food supply chain at great risk.
The president will issue the order under the Defense Production Act, a White House official told Axios Tuesday. The forthcoming order will label processing plants as “critical infrastructure.”
Dozens of large processing plants in several states have closed recently over COVID-19 concerns. The trend of closures spanning the beef, pork, poultry, and fish industries is pushing America toward a dangerous food supply shortage.
Earlier this month, Kenneth Sullivan, the president and CEO of Smithfield Foods, warned that snowballing closures were moving the country “perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply.”
“The food supply chain is breaking,” Tyson Foods Chairman John Tyson added in letters published by the New York Times, Washington Post, and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Sunday. Tyson Foods, which is the world’s second-largest meat producer, warned that “millions of pounds of meat” would soon disappear from the market.