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Smithfield Pork, one of the United States’ largest pork processing plant, announced it would temporarily close as many plant employees are sick with COVID-19. The move puts the pork supplier in a precarious position as it will not be able to supply grocery stores.

“The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply,” the company’s chief executive, Kenneth Sullivan, said in a statement April 12. “It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running. These facility closures will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain.”

The plant is located in South Dakota and provides about 5% of the nation’s pork production. The plant also employs 3,700 people. The company said it planned to pay employees for the next two weeks.

While the original plan was to close the plant for three days, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem asked them to close for 14 days. Sullivan said, “Unfortunately, Covid-19 cases are now ubiquitous across our country. The virus is afflicting communities everywhere. The agriculture and food sectors have not been immune. We have continued to run our facilities for one reason: to sustain our nation’s food supply during this pandemic.”

South Dakota officials reported that over 200 cases of COVID-19 infected plant employees. JBS SA and Tyson Foods workers reported deaths related to COVID-19. Read more about meat processing, factory farms, and why processed meat is unhealthy in One Green Planet.

Read more about protecting yourself from coronavirus. Check the CDC website for more information on how to protect yourself and check our latest article to learn how COVID-19 differs from the flu.

Scientists believe that the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, started at an exotic animal market in Wuhan, China. You can help stop the incidence of viruses like these by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.

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.

Interested in joining the dairy-free and meatless train? We highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Catch up on our latest coronavirus coverage in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

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