Trump Invokes Defense Production Act To Keep Meat Processing Plants Open

(TheFreedomFlag.Com)- In recent days, there were reports surfaced that there could be a severe meat shortage in the United States in the coming weeks.
President Donald Trump took action Tuesday that he hopes will help prevent that from happening.
He signed an executive order under the Defense Production Act that will force meat processing plants to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier in April, officials with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union said 13 processing plants have closed down completely since the beginning of March. This resulted in a reduction in pork slaughter capacity of 25%, and a 10% drop for beef slaughter capacity.
Some other meat production companies such as Tyson Foods were contemplating shutting down all by 20% of their facilities as they struggled to deal with coronavirus outbreaks. If that would have happened, it could have reduce processing capacity by as much as 80% in the United States.
Now, though, these meat processing plants have been deemed as “critical infrastructure” in the United States, meaning they aren’t able to close.
The Trump administration said it would work with the Department of Labor to issue guidance regarding which employees of the plants should remain at home. This will probably include people who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus. Trump also said he was working closely with Tyson Foods to ensure continued, safe production.
Gary Mickelson, a spokesman for Tyson Foods, didn’t comment on the executive order directly, but he did say:
“We can tell you our top priority remains the safety (of) our team members and plant communities while we work to continue fulfilling our role of feeding families across the country.”
With the coronavirus keeping more people in their homes, the demand for meat has risen substantially. At the same time, some meat processing plants have been forced to close because of outbreaks of COVID-19 among their employees.
The outbreaks at meat processing plants isn’t necessarily a surprise. Social distancing is very difficult, as many employees are forced to be stacked close together in order to do their jobs properly. That has forced many of these companies to try to strike a balance between providing safe working environments while not reducing meat supply the country is demanding.
Back in March, the United Nations warned the pandemic could disrupt supply chains of food around the world, and it seems that may be happening here in the U.S. In a report, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said:
“A protracted pandemic crisis could quickly put a strain on the food supply chains, a complex web of interactions involving farmers, agricultural inputs, processing plants, shipping, retailers and more.”
Trump and his administration hope that his executive order — and working closely with these meat processing companies — will help alleviate fears of a slowdown in production while still protecting the workers at the plants.
This isn’t the first time Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act. He did it to have companies produce medical equipment and to prosecute sellers who hoarding supplies and then tried to sell them at huge markup prices.