To help protect the food supply chain during the COVID-19 national emergency, President Donald Trump signed an executive order April 28 to keep meat and poultry processing facilities open.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue thanked Trump for his response, which seeks to keep employees safe and the supply of protein flowing.
“Our nation’s meat and poultry processing facilities play an integral role in the continuity of our food supply chain,” Perdue said. “Maintaining the health and safety of these heroic employees in order to ensure that these critical facilities can continue operating is paramount.”
Under the executive order and Defense Production Act authority, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will work with meat processors to assure operations follow guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture & Industries Rick Pate sought to ease consumer fears.
“I understand consumers’ concerns as they hear about temporary closures of meat processing plants in the U.S.,” Pate said. “In the short term, consumers may not be able to find specific cuts of meat due to temporary limitations, but there is no widespread shortage of meat. Processing plants are working hard to resume normal production levels while ensuring the health and safety of their employees. I am confident that the American food supply system is safe, abundant and sustainable.”