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Meat Shortages Hit: U.S. Government Must Urgently Make Cartel Packer Plants Safe and Indemnify Farmers

May 5, 2020 (EIRNS)—Meat shortages at supermarkets and chain restaurants are now showing up, as the meat supply is restricted by the closure or only partial operation of the cartel mega-packing plants. The nationwide wholesale warehouse chain Costco is limiting shoppers to three meat items. Wegman’s and Kroger’s are similarly implementing consumer restrictions. Over 1,000 of Wendy’s restaurants ran out of beef for burgers.

The April 28 executive order by President Donald Trump mandated that the big processors reopen, under the National Defense Production Act. More than 20 of the mega-packing houses, that processed thousands of head a day, were down, when they became COVID-19 hotspots for their workforce. The executive order specified that in order to open, the packing plants had to comply with CDC, FDA and USDA standards for sanitation and protection of workers. With few exceptions, that has not happened, and in fact, at least eight more plants have closed since the executive order. There are still close to 20 mega-plants either shut down or barely functioning. No FEMA-style Federal intervention is underway. The USDA, despite the executive order, is not activated to supply virus testing or sanitation or other assistance, to hasten opening plants.

Therefore, hundreds of thousands of pigs and poultry are being euthanized and buried or composted, stranded by the closure of the processing plants. The meat shortages, along with hoarding, are growing worse. Moreover, if farmers are not compensated for their losses, they will be ruined.

The situation for the packing plant workforce is dire.

From Minnesota, LaRouchePAC farm leader Andy Olson gave us the following report today: “The testing protocol is ramping up in these cartel meat-processing towns. JBS Worthington in Minnesota opened up today after an extended shutdown, which included testing that revealed 800-plus positives! Where is JBS Worthington going to get adequate workers?

“The Triumph pork processing plant in St. Joseph, Missouri, the Midwest’s largest pork-processing plant, shut down because of one positive COVID-19 worker. The relevant testing authorities swarmed the plant and conducted a major testing protocol that isolated 70 positive cases. It would be impossible for these plants like JBS Worthington to catch up with the backlog of finished hogs. And the difficult task of euthanizing thousands of hogs, missed from slaughter by ‘just in time’ economics, is a denunciation of a failed system!

“Thus far the cartels have not been identified as the culprit of this catastrophe, and media and political leaders continue as apologists— consequently, the underlying cause and remedies have yet to be discussed.”

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