Tensions, legalities arise for packing plants

President Donald Trump has issued an executive order under the Defense Protection Act to keep meat processing plants open throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Industry members have warned of looming meat shortages as a result of the pandemic. Pictured here, USDA employees work in close quarters to process beef. Photo by USDA.

California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) announced citations against five meat processors for failing to prevent COVID-19 infections at their facilities.

Some of the violations included not informing employees of possible exposure and failing to ensure workers used face coverings and personal protective equipment while in the plant. Other meat processors were cited for not having physical barriers between workers.

Vernon-based processors cited include: Smithfield Foods Inc., which received a proposed penalty of $58,100; California Farms Meat Co., which was fined $11,700; and CLW Foods, which received a proposed penalty of $32,700.

Also cited are Central Valley Meat Co. in Hanford, which was fined $50,000, and Brawley-based One World Beef, received a proposed penalty of $23,000.

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