The U.S. Labor Department has cited Smithfield Foods for failing to protect employees from the coronavirus, making it the first major U.S. meatpacker to face a fine after outbreaks at slaughterhouses infected workers.
Two of the world's largest meatpackers have installed ultraviolet air cleaning equipment in some of their U.S. processing plants. The decision comes as pressure increases on companies to protect workers from COVID-19.
A bipartisan bill is set for discussion in the North Carolina state legislature that would provide $25 million in federal CARES Act funding to help meat-processing plants add capacity and help independent producers.
U.S. frozen pork inventories fell in April, when they typically rise, and beef inventories dropped more than normal as COVID-19 shut slaughterhouses and prompted grocers to limit customers' buying, USDA data show.
JBS SA, whose meatpacking plants in Brazil and in the United States have been hit by coronavirus outbreaks, said it was donating 700 million reais ($120 million) to initiatives aimed at combating the pandemic.