According to Smithfield, its Cudahy dry sausage and bacon plant will halt production for two weeks. The company’s Martin City plant receives raw materials from the South Dakota facility, without which it cannot continue to operate, and Smithfield says that the facility in Sioux Falls will only re-open once the company has received further direction from officials.
Smithfield adds that a ‘small number’ of employees at both the Cudahy and Martin City facilities have tested positive for the virus, claiming that the plants are located close to urban areas where community transmission of Covid-19 has been prevalent.
Commenting on the latest developments, Smithfield’s president and CEO Kenneth Sullivan said: “The closure of our Martin City plant is part of the domino effect underway in our industry. It highlights the interdependence and interconnectivity of our food supply chain. Our country is blessed with abundant livestock supplies, but our processing facilities are the bottleneck of our food chain. Without plants like Sioux Falls running, other processing facilities like Martin City cannot function.For the security of our nation, I cannot understate how critical it is for our industry to continue to operate unabated.”
Smithfield Foods is one of a number of meat processors who have had to reduce, or suspend altogether, operations at facilities affected by coronavirus.