Patrick Cudahy plant closing for 2 weeks after number of employees test positive for virus

CUDAHY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Smithfield Foods, Inc. announced Wednesday, April 15, the Patrick Cudahy dry sausage and bacon plant will close for two weeks due to the facility's proximity to areas impacted by COVID-19. 

The Patrick Cudahy facility in Martin City, MO will also shutter for two weeks. 

According to a release on Wednesday, a small number of employees at both plants have tested positive for COVID-19. Employees will be paid for the next two weeks during which time essential personnel will repeat the rigorous deep cleaning and sanitization that have been ongoing at the facilities.

“From farm to fork, our nation’s food workers, American family farmers and the many others in the supply chain are vital to the security of our country. This is particularly evident as we battle COVID-19 together. Please join me in thanking them,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer, for Smithfield.

“The closure of our Martin City plant is part of the domino effect underway in our industry. It highlights the interdependence and interconnectivity of our food supply chain. Our country is blessed with abundant livestock supplies, but our processing facilities are the bottleneck of our food chain. Without plants like Sioux Falls running, other further processing facilities like Martin City cannot function. This is why our government has named food and agriculture critical infrastructure sectors and called on us to maintain operations and normal work schedules. For the security of our nation, I cannot understate how critical it is for our industry to continue to operate unabated,” he highlighted.

“We are doing everything in our power to help protect our team members from COVID-19 in the workplace. This starts with stringent and detailed processes and protocols that follow the strict guidance of the CDC and extends to things like the use of thermal scanning, personal protective equipment and physical barriers, to name a few. We are also being explicit with employees: ‘Do not report to work if you are sick or exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. You will be paid,’” Mr. Sullivan described.

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19. 

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