The chairman of Tyson Foods has issued a stark warning to Americans following the shuttering of multiple meat processing plants across the country: “The food supply chain is breaking.”
In an open letter published as a full-page ad in Sunday’s New York Times, Washington Post and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, John H. Tyson outlined Tyson Foods’ response to the ongoing coronavirus health crisis, but hinted that further closures — not only of Tyson Foods facilities, but competitors’ facilities as well — would put stress on the nation’s food supply.
“Millions of animals – chickens, pigs and cattle – will be depopulated because of the closure of our processing facilities. The food supply chain is breaking,” wrote John H. Tyson, Tyson Foods’ chairman of the board.
In recent weeks, Tyson Foods has been forced to temporarily pause operations at a number of plants following outbreaks of COVID-19, or because of staffing shortages caused by the pandemic.
“In addition to meat shortages, this is a serious food waste issue,” Tyson claimed. “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.”
Tyson said the company had adopted several new practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at its processing facilities, including new social distancing requirements, workstation dividers, deep cleanings, and temperature screenings (some performed by infrared “walkthrough” scanners), among other precautionary measures.