Smithfield temporarily shuts pork plant due to coronavirus
A Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in South Dakota is closing temporarily after more than 80 employees tested positive for the coronavirusApril 9, 2020, 8:04 PM3 min readSIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in South Dakota will temporarily close for cleaning after more than 80 employees were confirmed to have the coronavirus, the company announced Thursday. Smithfield Foods plans to suspend operations in a large section of the Sioux Falls plant on Saturday, then completely close on Sunday and Monday. The Virginia-based company said it will sanitize the plant and install physical barriers to “enhance social distancing.” South Dakota health officials have said more than 80 plant workers tested positive for COVID-19, while the union representing workers said more than 120 have confirmed infections. The plant, which employees about 3,700 people in the state’s largest city, has emerged as a hotspot of infections, accounting for almost 30% of cases in Minnehaha County. Smithfield Foods CEO Kenneth Sullivan said in a statement that the plant dishes out nearly 18 million servings of meat per day. There has been no evidence that the coronavirus is being transmitted through food or its packaging, according to the Department of Agriculture.