Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker announced that they were opening an investigation into Smithfield Foods, JBS USA, Tyson Foods, and Cargill. The investigation was spurred by reports that the companies were warning about shortages and raising prices while exporting record amounts of pork to China.

Booker and Warren, who last month made a bill to close all factory farms by 2040, sent a letter to the CEO of each company demanding information on company protections for workers affected by the coronavirus and how much meat the company has been exporting.

“Your companies created the conditions that left your workers and the supply chain vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic – but instead of addressing them, you used the prospect of food shortages to secure a federal license to put your workers in harm’s way,” the duo wrote.

Meat companies around the United States experienced shockwaves through the industry as supply was affected by workers falling ill with the coronavirus and not coming into work. In April, President Trump issued an executive order requiring plants to remain open, while many had closed due to employee shortages.

Warren and Booker highlighted these issues in their letter. “In April, while thousands of your workers were falling ill due to your own inability or unwillingness to implement worker protections, your companies warned that the ‘country [was] perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply’  and that ‘the food supply chain is breaking,’ while publicly pressing federal, state, and local officials to keep plants open,” they wrote. “Your warnings of potential shortages prompted retailers to place limits on the amount of meat that customers could purchase.”

Read more about meat and the coronavirus in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

This is a good time to reconsider our intake of animal products to stay healthy. Eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.

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