Tyson Shuts Iowa Pork Plant Due to Coronavirus

April 6, 2020
More than two dozen cases of COVID-19 reported at Columbus Junction, Iowa, facility

Tyson Foods suspended all operations at it Columbus Junction, Iowa, pork plant today (April 6) due to more than two dozen cases of COVID-19 involving team members at the facility.

“In an effort to minimize the impact on our overall production, we’re diverting the livestock supply originally scheduled for delivery to Columbus Junction to some of our other pork plants in the region,” the company said in an announcement.

A spokesman said the plant’s 1,400 workers would continue to be paid this week despite the suspension. The plant processes fresh pork for retail and foodservice.

“While these are challenging times, we remain committed to protecting our people while continuing to meet the needs of our customers and consumers across America.”

Tyson also noted it’s been taking the temperature of workers at all its locations before they enter. “We’re mostly using temporal thermometers but at a few locations we’re beginning to implement [whole-body] infrared temperature scanners.” CNBC reported the infrared body temperature scanners are in use at three U.S. sites.

“In addition, we’ve stepped up deep cleaning and sanitizing of our facilities, especially in employee breakrooms, locker rooms and other areas, to protect our team members. This additional cleaning sometimes requires suspending at least one day of production.”

The company has set up tents at some plants to create outdoor break rooms.

“Our meat and poultry plants are experiencing varying levels of production impact, due to the planned implementation of additional worker safety precautions and worker absenteeism,” the statements concluded.

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