Last month our worst fears were confirmed after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a pair of COVID-19 safety violation related fines against Big-Meat giants China WH-group owned Smithfield Foods and Brazilian-owned JBS. Mismanagement at Smithfield’s meat packing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota resulted in almost 13-hundred COVID-19 positive tests. Four plant workers died. JBS is equally culpable. At the JBS USA plant in Greeley, Colorado 290 workers tested positive for COVID-19. Six have died.
ByHeather Schlitz, Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
Four restaurant chains have sued the country’s biggest poultry companies, including Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride, saying they conspired to inflate prices, manipulated price indices and restrained production.
ByHeather Schlitz, Midwest Center for Investigative Reportingn |
Although they make up about 60 percent of all meatpacking workers in the U.S., people of color account for about 90 percent of those infected, according to federal data released this week. The companies did not follow the federal guidance that would have mitigated the virus’s spread among its minority workforce, according to the complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
About two years ago Maplevale Farms, Inc filed a civil lawsuit against the nation's largest chicken processors – Tyson Foods, Pilgrim's Pride, Perdue Farms, Koch Foods and Sanderson Farms are all plaintiffs – alleging the companies conspired together between 2008 and 2016 to fix poultry prices.
But as Dave Dickey writes, billions of dollars are at stake here. And things are not always as they seem.
USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service says in 2018 there have been dozens of recalls involving millions of pounds of sausage, calzones and chicken whatnots contaminated with metal, plastic and other foreign non-food bits of dangerous materials.