Tyson, JBS Closures Show Virus Hitting American Meat Production

Major U.S. meat plants are starting to take more drastic measures to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, fanning concerns of supply disruptions at a time when Americans are stocking up on food.

On Monday, Tyson Foods Inc. said it halted pork processing at a plant in Iowa after more than two dozen workers tested positive for Covid-19. JBS SA suspended operations until April 16 at a beef plant in Pennsylvania after several managers showed symptoms. Other producers have seen everything from walkouts to hundreds of staff quarantined.

The temporary shutdowns come as the virus spreads to rural areas that are the heart of U.S. food production. In the early stages of the outbreak, producers opted to keep plants running when workers got sick by identifying specific areas where infected people had direct contact.

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