April 13, 2020 / 5:12 AM / 2 months ago

Factbox: Spread of coronavirus closes North American meat plants

(Reuters) - Major meat companies in the United States and Canada have closed plants temporarily due to cases of the new coronavirus among employees and concerns about its spread.

FILE PHOTO: A shopper picks over the few items remaining in the meat section, as people stock up on supplies amid coronavirus fears, at an Austin, Texas, grocery store on March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Brad Brooks/File Photo

Here are some facilities that have shut or reduced production:

* JBS USA said on Monday it is closing a beef plant in Greeley, Colorado, until April 24. The plant slaughters about 5,400 cattle a day, according to commodity firm Kerns and Associates, about 5% of the total U.S. daily slaughter.

* Smithfield Foods, the world’s biggest pork processor, on Sunday said it is indefinitely shutting a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, plant that produces about 4% to 5% of U.S. pork. The company, owned by China’s WH Group Ltd (0288.HK), warned plant shutdowns are pushing the United States “perilously close to the edge” in meat supplies for grocers.

* Tyson Foods Inc (TSN.N) said on Monday it is keeping a hog slaughterhouse in Columbus Junction, Iowa, closed this week. The company previously shut the plant the week of April 6 after more than 24 cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus, involving employees at the facility.

* National Beef Packing Co suspended cattle slaughtering at an Iowa Premium beef plant in Tama, Iowa, until the week of April 20 after numerous employees tested positive for the virus, according to an announcement on its website. It had shut the plant during the week of April 6 for cleaning.

* Aurora Packing Company closed a beef plant in Aurora, Illinois, said Brad Lyle, chief financial officer for U.S. commodity firm Kerns and Associates. A security officer at the plant said it was closed due to the pandemic. The company did not respond to requests for comment.

* JBS USA shut a beef plant in Souderton, Pennsylvania, until April 16, after previously cutting production.

* Cargill Inc closed a plant in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, that produces meat for U.S. grocery stores.

* Harmony Beef in Alberta, Canada, shut its cattle slaughter operations on March 27 for two days, after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting some federal inspectors to stay away from the site.

* An Olymel pork plant in Yamachiche, Quebec, shut on March 29 for two weeks after nine workers tested positive for the coronavirus.

* Maple Leaf Foods (MFI.TO) suspended operations on April 8 at its Brampton, Ontario poultry plant, following three COVID-19 cases among workers at that facility.

* Sanderson Farms Inc (SAFM.O) reduced chicken production to 1 million birds a week from 1.3 million at a plant in Moultrie, Georgia.

Reporting by Tom Polansek and Rod Nickel; Editing by Edward Tobin, Paul Simao and Himani Sarkar

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