Bravo, JBS and Smithfield

Dec. 4, 2020

Doing things right during the pandemic.

The meat & poultry sector has been unquestionably slammed hardest by the coronavirus. By the count of the Food and Environment Reporting Network, nearly 50,000 of its workers have contracted COVID-19, and 254 have died from it.

The meat folks have come in for a lot of criticism during the pandemic, some of it from me. And in certain cases, they’ve been accused of absolutely egregious misconduct, like the Tyson managers who allegedly started a betting pool on how many of their workers would get COVID (while withholding information from them).

But we shouldn’t overlook the good stuff the meat sector does. So I have two companies to salute here:

JBS USA, for offering at-risk workers, including those over age 60, paid leave;

Smithfield Foods, for offering up use of its supercoolers to store the vaccine. (You can’t just stick the stuff in a Frigidaire from Best Buy. It will need to be held at minus 112°F.)

Bravo.

It should be noted that the food industry, especially meat and poultry, is angling for its workers to get a high priority for the vaccine (as they absolutely should). I can’t escape the suspicion that Smithfield is angling for a little goodwill to get its workers closer to the head of the line.

In which case: Bravissimo.

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