Tyson Foods recently took out a full-page ad in the New York Times about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting their company and the meat industry in general. Per Yahoo News, Tyson explained that, “Millions of animals —chickens, pigs, and cattle— will be depopulated because of the closure of our processing facilities,” They then wrote, “The food supply chain is breaking.”
The company went on to say, “As pork, beef and chicken plants are being forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain. As a result, there will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed.”
They also warn that there will be a ton of food waste as a threat. “Farmers across the nation simply will not have anywhere to sell their livestock to be processed, when they could have fed the nation.”
A USDA spokesperson said in a statement that they would work to ensure the food supply chain remains safe and secure. “The food supply chain is a critical industry in the United States and Secretary Perdue fully recognizes the need to keep workers and inspectors safe during the COVID-19 national emergency. USDA recognizes and supports the efforts of private industry and companies to maintain operational status of their facilities while also maintaining the safety and health of their workforce.”
In the New York Times ad, Tyson announced they would try to ease the financial burden of health-related issues for employees. They also revealed they would pay around $60 million in “thank you” bonuses frontline workers and Tyson truckers.
Tyson Foods and many other meat producers have recently come under fire for failing to keep their employees safe during the pandemic. According to The Washington Post, these companies have not provided protective gear for employees and they are making them continue to work even as the virus continued to spread. This has lead to thousands of workers getting sick and some dying.
There are mixed reactions online about Tyson’s declaration about the food supply chain, and about their ad in general.