It’s Going After the Meat!!

| April 29, 2020

In case you are living on an isolated island, the meat and poultry processing industry in this country has been shutting down plants due to the Covid19 plague. These are companies that employ thousands of workers, some of whom are bringing the virus to work with them. As a result, poultry, beef and hog producers/farmers are having to euthanize the most recently produced young livestock, which cuts into the supply chain drastically.  By mostly recently produced, I mean piglets, calves and pullets.

However, Pres. Trump has issued an executive order to keep meat processing plants open and not break the food supply chain.

The executive order will reportedly mandate that all plants handling pork, chicken, and beef remain open, along with egg processing facilities. The order will apply to Tyson, Hormel, Pilgrim’s Pride (NASDAQ:PPC), Smithfield Foods, and other food companies.

‘In addition to classifying the food facilities as critical infrastructure, the administration plans to work to establish additional health standards to increase employee safety while on the job. The guidance might include a recommendation that workers over 65 years old and others vulnerable to the novel coronavirus remain home.

Trump informed reporters today that he is consulting with Tyson Foods executives while developing the government’s response to the potential food crisis. The president also remarked he is “going to sign an executive order today I believe, and that will solve any liability problems, and they had certain liability problems,” according to The Hill.”  – article

Note: Pilgrim’s Pride (PPC) processes poultry, mostly chicken and turkey, for both commercial (restaurants) and public markets (grocery stores). – This article addresses  meat processing companies that have shut down plants.

“On Tuesday, the UFCW responded to reports that President Trump would soon order to keep meatpacking plants to remain open. The union reiterated its call for the federal government to establish “clear and enforceable safety standards” for the industry, aimed at protecting workers.

Smithfield denied accusations that its employees were forced to report to work when they were sick and said it had raised workers’ wages by $3 per hour during the pandemic. It also shot down allegations that it failed to provide masks to workers, explaining the supplies “were not readily available.” – article

JBS USA operates more than 60 meat, poultry and prepared foods facilities across the United States. The Green Bay beef facility is the fourth JBS USA plant to temporarily close to help slow community spread, joining the Souderton, Pa., beef production facility and the Greeley, Colo., beef production facility, both of which have reopened, and the Worthington, Minn., pork facility that remains closed. – article

THe Delmarva area has a large number of processing plants. One company, Allen Harim Foods, had to euthanize 2 million chickens becuase there are too few workers to process them:

“Some processors that saw demand drop because of restaurant and hotel closures have been selling larger packages of chicken to consumers from trucks stationed at volunteer fire departments around the Eastern Shore, Fisher said.

The Delmarva Poultry trade group said the impact of COVID-19 on the chicken industry has become more apparent as the disease has spread, with reduced attendance at plants across the peninsula.

“Some of Delmarva’s processing plants are operating below their normal capacity, although other plants are operating normally,” Delmarva Poultry said in a statement. “Plant capacity can change day to day, depending on attendance, and predicting capacity is difficult.” – article

The USFW responds to Trump’s order to keep meat packing/egg processing plants open, as follows:

“Today, new internal UFCW estimates have confirmed 20 worker deaths in meatpacking and food processing. In addition, at least 5,000 meatpacking workers and 1,500 food processing workers have been directly impacted by the virus. Those directly impacted include individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, missed work due to self-quarantine, are awaiting test results, or have been hospitalized, and/or are symptomatic.

UFCW announced today that new estimates show 22 meatpacking plants have closed – including union and non-union plants – at some point in the past two months. These closures have resulted in over 35,000 workers impacted and a 25 percent reduction in pork slaughter capacity as well as a 10 percent reduction in beef slaughter capacity.” – article

How long this will last is anyone’s guess, but since the CV19 bug prefers a chilly environment over warmth, these facilities can easily harbor the bug. I haven’t seen empty meat bins so far, but that does not mean it won’t happen.

That’s one good reason to buy bulk packs if you can get them, and then wrap the individual portions, load them into freezer bags, and freeze them.  A small 5.0 cubic foot freezer chest is worth the price you pay for it, which is a reasonable amount. And it does not run a freeze/thaw cycle the way your fridge does.

The times, they sure are a-changin’….

Category: "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves", Cooking, Coronavirus, Economy

Comments (28)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. AW1Ed says:

    Glad they’re getting out front with this. Meatless supermarkets would not be good; things are ‘interesting’ enough as it is.
    Thanks, Ex.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      There are squirrels around here that need thinning out.

      Deep-fried squirrel coated in a good batter that crisps up in the fryer is nothing to sneer at. 🙂

      • Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH B Woodman says:

        Can’t say. Never tried it. May I come over to your place to try a samplin’?

      • A Proud Infidel®™️ says:

        Plenty of squirrels and rabbits in my neck of the woods, and I know where I can plug a wild hog or two as well!

        • Ex-PH2 says:

          The more of those “wild” hogs (they aren’t) you take out of the landscape and turn into pork bellies and bacon roast pork and ham, the better!

          Some idiot decided a while back that importing Russian boars and crossing them with American hogs would make for good hunting. They have been nothing but destructive. Someone finally shot Hogzilla, who checked out at 8 feet and about 1,000 pounds.

          But there was another one bigger than he was. And an 11-year-old boy from Alabama got him. 9 ft 4 inches snout to tail, nearly 1100 pounds of hog. They made sausages out of him.

          If we could just do that with…. oh, never mind!

          • David says:

            I thought you were about to refer to Michael Moore, a couple of posts up.

            San an article where they were breathlessly bloviating about one company having to kill TWO MILLION CHICKENS…had to read carefully to find they annually process just over 600 million.

            • Ex-PH2 says:

              Yeah, well, killing off all those chickens means loss of cash in the cash drawer for the producer, regardless of where the chicken parts end up.
              Two million out of 600 million may not seem like a lot, but the bottom line will say differently.

          • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

            Wild hogs ARE a bane, they’ll wreck a pasture, crop or hay field in one night!

            • 11B-Mailclerk says:

              They are nearly as destructive as Proggies.

              At least one can shoot, cook, and eat Hog.

              I suspect in the coming months, a whole bunch of folks may turn to hog hunting to fill freezers.

  2. George V says:

    This is slightly off topic, but on food shortages. There’s been multiple articles about the “poison pill” the Democrats put into the “paycheck protection” act, giving workers an additional $600/week on top of the normal unemployment, and how many workers are staying home instead of returning to work.

    An article I read this morning on another website quoted a grocery store worker who, when asked why the shelves were half-stocked, replied that suppliers can’t get their workers, who were laid off briefly, to come back and load the trucks. They are sitting at home collecting unemployment. The businesses are stuck because if they don’t hire these workers back their paycheck protection loan can’t be forgiven under the terms of the law.

    The Dems did this knowingly, I am sure, and most Republicans weren’t smart enough to catch it. Truly the Dems will stop at nothing to destroy the economy and thereby destroy the president. Americans who can’t find food to buy.. well, there’s that saying “You can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs”. I think some Chinese guy said that?

    • OWB says:

      Except that the employer CAN report to the unemployment bureaucrats that they offered up a job to the employee who is refusing to take the job. That disqualifies them for unemployment benefits in most/many/at least some states.

      • Mason says:

        I know that’s how it works here. Don’t know if they are reporting it. The unemployment offices are supposed to be holding people accountable that they are making good faith efforts to find employment.

        Of course that was when we had an unemployment system designed to deal with ~4% (worst in recent memory was 10%). We haven’t seen >20% unemployment since 1935. Fair to say that our system is not set up to properly vet all the unemployed claims.

        • OWB says:

          Wasn’t paying close attention to the details, but believe the local folks being interviewed explained it something like this: The employer loses some or all of his eligibility for one program (the low cost loans, maybe?) if they do NOT report the employee’s refusal and/or they cannot replace that employee. My takeaway was just that there are built-in incentives for the employer to report the refusal to accept the job. It would cost them to not do so.

          No idea if that is a universal system, but got the idea that at least part of it is driven by the federal guidelines/laws.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Oh, I think that applies precisely to the losses in those articles I linked to. How many workers were really sick, and how many were just staying home?

      I’ve seen that “get more cash from unemployment” several places. It doesn’t surprise me, but it can’t go on forever, no matter what the Dumbocraps try to do.

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      George V you are spot on with this observation, and this is something that has not been talked about. These workers are not the highest paid and if they can sit at home and make way yonder more than they would be making at work, they are not going in. And as you pointed out, the employers can’t hire replacements or they will get nailed. And killing off the “seed corn” critters is a strategic error on the part of the producers. Maybe instead of using the Army Guard units for cleaning purposes, they could use those troops/vehicles for transporting critters to the wild game processors?

      Anybody notice that the FIRST meat processing plants to have problems were the Smithfield Group that was quietly bought by the Chinese Communist a few years back? It is good to see too, George V, that someone else agrees with my harping that all of this is a calculated attempt by the foreign and domestic enemies of our Republic to destroy us and our way of life.

      Back to the main point of the post, Ex, good job and a timely reminder of how fragile the distribution network can become. Just as in shooting warfare, the professionals study the logistics required to get the beans and bullets to the trigger pullers. You can have all the money in the world to buy food, but if there is no food in the store who you gonna call. The only good that can come from this is the people who have beat up on farmers, ranchers, hunters ect will find out that food doesn’t grow in the stockroom of the store. And if you bought it, a truck brought it.

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        Anybody notice that the FIRST meat processing plants to have problems were the Smithfield Group that was quietly bought by the Chinese Communist a few years back? – Yes, I did notice that and wondered about it, too.

        The fragility of our distribution system is the same elsewhere. Too many people take far too much for granted, relying on “the store” for everything instead of doing what my folks and their families did back in Them There Olden Times: put your own food processing stuff to work. I have plenty of shelf space, just cluttered up with junk. Spring cleaning will be fun this time. Lots of junk can go right into the trash or recycling.

        Speaking of recycling, those small aluminum cat food cans are just the right size to make tiny candles for emergencies, as long as they’re clean. The candle wax and wicks can be found at hobby shops. Many, many ways to recycle a lot of stuff instead of just tossing it.

  3. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    While we were being told to implement a futile and counterproductive quarantine of the healthy, resources were diverted away from those who are particularly vulnerable.

  4. OldManchu says:

    You said “Trump” in your post. As soon as Lars wakes up just after noonish he should be here to orange man bad.

  5. Slow Joe says:

    Wait a minute.

    Since when can the President order a private business to remain open?

    • Commissioner Wretched says:

      Right about the same time he could order one closed. In other words, he can’t.

      The government doesn’t have that power.

    • Penguinman000 says:

      He’s using the defense production act. Hence the reason he called them critical infrastructure.

      It’s been in force long enough that it’s unlikely to be successfully challenged in the short term. Especially when the food chain is obviously stressed.

      Interesting times we are living in.

      • Hondo says:

        Anyone else find it ironic that the DPA was passed under a Democratic Administration – specifically, the Truman Administration?

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        I like the way Trump is exposing the existence of these stupid and unconstitutional laws, with minimal effort and impact. He has also exposed the inner tyrant of a whole bunch of politicians.