Cheap chicken, beef came at a cost. How American meat plants bred coronavirus hot spots.

The meatpacking industry has evolved into a marvel of modern efficiency, producing 105 billion pounds annually of poultry, pork, beef and lamb destined for dinner tables across America and the world. That’s nearly double what it produced three decades ago.

But its evolution came at a cost. The same features that allow a steady churn of cheap meat also provide the perfect breeding ground for airborne diseases like the coronavirus: a cramped workplace, a culture of underreporting illnesses, and a cadre of rural, immigrant and undocumented workers who share transportation and close living quarters.

Opinion: Will feds rise to the long-term challenges of COVID-19?

It’s really no wonder that the latest Pew Research Survey said that just 17 % of Americans currently trust government to do the right thing all or most of the time. In all fairness it just isn’t the current POTUS. Trust in the federal government has been declining for years in the wake of a boatload of poorly mishandled crisis – the invasion of Iraq, the response to Hurricane Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon oil well explosion, the inability to sign up for the Affordable Care Act to name just a few.

Mass testing at meat plant finds 27 more coronavirus cases

Rantoul Foods will partially shut down Monday to undergo additional sanitization following a mass testing event at the plant Friday and Saturday that found 27 more cases of Covid-19 among employees, according to a company release. The total number of employees that contracted the illness is now at 82.

Covid-19 cases rise at Central Illinois meat packing plant

The number of Covid-19 cases at one of Central Illinois’ largest meat processing plants now stands at 52, health officials and plant management said Thursday.

Secretary Perdue Issues Letters on Meat Packing Expectations

These letters establish the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) clear expectations for the implementation of President Donald J. Trump's Executive Order signed last week. The President's Executive order directs plants to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance specific to the meat processing industry to keep these critical facilities open while maintaining worker safety.