Tyson Foods Inc. is halting its largest pork plant, becoming the third major U.S. facility to shut as the coronavirus sickens workers, exacerbates livestock gluts and threatens supplies.
The Waterloo facility in Iowa, which has been running at reduced levels due to worker absenteeism, will stop mid-week until further notice, Tyson said in a statement.
It’s the latest blow to the nation’s meatpacking industry, which is struggling to contain the disease among workers. JBS SA is shuttering its pork-processing facility in Minnesota, and Smithfield Foods Inc. closed a slaughter plant in South Dakota. Combined they make up about 15% of U.S. capacity.
The growing disruptions in slaughtering and processing are cascading through supply chains, affecting farmers, truckers, distributors and supermarkets. While there’s plenty of frozen inventory in the U.S, wholesale pork prices have surged.