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Virus closes some meat plants, raising fears of shortages

Virus closes some meat plants, raising fears of shortages
Image: Purestock/Thinkstock

The new coronavirus has sickened workers at meat processing plants across the country, forcing some massive operations to close at least temporarily. That’s raising concerns that there could soon be shortages of beef, pork and poultry in supermarkets.

The meat supply chain is especially vulnerable since processing is increasingly done at massive plants. That means the closure of even a few big ones can quickly be felt by customers.

A major meatpacking plant in Colorado where two workers died of the coronavirus will be closed until April 24 while its owner, JBS USA, works with state and federal authorities to arrange testing for its 5,000 workers.

Health authorities say at least 43 plant workers have tested positive, and that 14 of them were hospitalized.

Meanwhile, Lincoln Premium Poultry announced its first case of COVID-19 yesterday at the plant in Fremont. LPP is the poultry management company for Costco.

While company owners promise to deep clean their plants and resume operations as quickly as possible, it’s a difficult task to keep workers healthy given how closely they work together.

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