Last Tuesday, United States President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order urging meat markets to stay open despite the lack of products in the country’s food inventory and numerous details about deaths in these plants from the global pandemic of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
The President used the Defense Production Act to label these plants as “essential” markets to continue. Following the executive order, the federal government will contribute protective equipment for workers along with other assistance.
“Invoking the Defense Production Act to protect our domestic meat supply is the right move, and I know Mississippi’s meat producers will continue following safe protocols to protect employees and consumers,” said Mississippi Fourth District Representative Steven Palazzo. “In the midst of this crisis, invoking the DPA will reduce disruptions in our supply chain and continue supporting Mississippi families and industries.”
Previously, Congressman Palazzo joined 126 Members of Congress in requesting President Trump eliminate payment limits in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) for producers of specialty crops, livestock, and dairy before final details of the program are announced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“We are grateful for the help and support we have received from our Federal government and the states in which we operate during this unprecedented crisis,” said Joe Sanderson, Chief Executive Officer of Sanderson Farms. “We are especially grateful for our 17,000 employees and 1,000 independent poultry producers who go to work every day as essential workers to help ensure American consumers have access to safe, affordable, high quality protein.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the Department of Labor have issued guidance for meat plants to implement to help ensure employee safety while working.