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Meat shortage coming if coronavirus closes processing plants: Smithfield Foods CEO
Smithfield Foods CEO: US processing plants must operate even amid coronavirus
Smithfield CEO Ken Sullivan discusses how the coronavirus is impacting the U.S. pork supply industry.
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Meat processing plants must stay open despite the coronavirus pandemic or the country risks a meat shortage, Smithfield Foods CEO Ken Sullivan told "Mornings with Maria" in an exclusive interview.
"What's happened in this pandemic is we still have that bounty of livestock," Sullivan said. "The linchpin in the middle is the harvest facilities, and there's a relatively small number … of plants that actually harvest all those animals and turn it into food."
"We're having COVID cases amongst our employees, and when you get COVID cases in a plant, we're having absenteeism and we're having difficulty operating the plant," he continued.
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The National Pork Producers Council wants the Department of Agriculture to make $1 billion in pork purchases, but Sullivan said there would be no meat for the USDA to buy if processing plants close.