US meat giant on Covid-19: ‘The food supply chain is breaking’

US meat giant Tyson Foods has issued a stark warning that “the food supply chain is breaking” across the Atlantic in America, due to the impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Taking out full-page advertisements in a number of US media outlets in recent days, the US-based multinational’s chairman John Tyson outlined the challenges facing the company, the country and further afield in an eye-opening account of the situation in America at present.

Warning that the firm is being “forced to shutter” doors due to the coronavirus, Tyson stressed: “The food supply chain is vulnerable.

As pork, beef and chicken plants are being forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain.

“As a result, there will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed.

Calling for unity from all sides of the US economy, both public and private sectors, the chairman added:

“In addition to meat shortages, this is a serious food waste issue.

Farmers across the nation simply will not have anywhere to sell their livestock to be processed, when they could have fed the nation.

Millions of animals – chickens, pigs and cattle – will be depopulated because of the closure of our processing facilities. The food supply chain is breaking.

Highlighting that the task of feeding the country is as essential as healthcare, the chairman stressed:

“This is a challenge that should not be ignored. Our plants must remain operational so that we can supply food to our families in America.

“This is a delicate balance because Tyson Foods places team member safety as our top priority.”

Listing measures taken by his company in the face of the Covid-19 threat, Tyson noted that measures taken include: taking worker temperatures and installing more than 150 infrared walkthrough temperature scanners in the firm’s facilities; securing a supply of face coverings and requiring them in all company facilities; and conducting additional daily deep cleaning and sanitizing.

In addition, social distancing is being adhered to, with workstation dividers installed and more break-room space provided, the chairman said.

“In a few circumstances where we haven’t been able to meet our own standards, we’ve voluntarily closed operations, only resuming when adequate safety measures were in place,” he assured.

“Tyson Foods is also paying approximately $60 million in ‘thank you’ bonuses to 116,000 front-line workers and Tyson truckers who support our operations every day,” Tyson said.