In this file:  

 

·         U.S. meat production slows as Omicron hits staff, inspectors

… A Cargill beef plant in Dodge City, Kansas, was getting by with a "skeleton crew," said Lee Reichmuth, a Nebraska cattle feeder and board member for the United States Cattlemen's Association. The facility supplies beef to retail, foodservice and processed foods customers domestically and internationally. "Slaughter's backing up," Reichmuth said… USDA meatpacking inspectors are increasingly testing positive, said Paula Schelling-Soldner, chair of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals that represents about 6,400 meat and poultry inspectors…

 

·         Potentially growing COVID-19 outbreak at High River Cargill meatpacking plant

… UFCW Local 401 confirms to Global News the High River, Alta., Cargill meatpacking plant has at least 44 COVID-19 cases as of Sunday — though that number is likely to be higher, according to union president Tom Hesse…

 

 

U.S. meat production slows as Omicron hits staff, inspectors

 

By Tom Polansek, Reuters 

via Yahoo - January 10, 2022

 

CHICAGO, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Rising COVID-19 infections among U.S. workers have forced meat plants to slow production and the government to replace slaughterhouse inspectors, meat companies and union officials said.

 

Meatpacking, an early epicenter of the pandemic in 2020, is the latest sector to be disrupted by a surge in cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant, which has also left airlines, hospitals and schools scrambling for staff.

 

Cargill Inc, a top U.S. beef producer, operated a few plants at a lower slaughtering capacity last week, spokesman Daniel Sullivan said.

 

Less slaughter capacity reduces U.S. beef supplies at a time of booming demand and means farmers must keep cattle longer in feed yards or on ranches. A sustained period of lower production could further increase high meat prices at a time of inflation fears.

 

"We are seeing case counts ebb and flow as communities work to manage the spread of the COVID-19, especially the Omicron variant," Sullivan said.

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated beef processors killed 112,000 cattle on Friday, down about 6% from a year earlier and matching Jan. 3 levels that were the lowest since October. Pig slaughtering, meanwhile, was down about 5% from last year on Friday, the USDA said.

 

A Cargill beef plant in Dodge City, Kansas, was getting by with a "skeleton crew," said Lee Reichmuth, a Nebraska cattle feeder and board member for the United States Cattlemen's Association. The facility supplies beef to retail, foodservice and processed foods customers domestically and internationally.

 

"Slaughter's backing up," Reichmuth said.

 

COVID-19 cases as of Jan. 3 had increased over the previous 14 days in 26 of the 30 counties where the nation's biggest beef production plants are located, according to Steiner Consulting Group.

 

USDA meatpacking inspectors are increasingly testing positive, said Paula Schelling-Soldner, chair of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals that represents about 6,400 meat and poultry inspectors...

 

more

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/u-meat-production-slows-omicron-164319741.html

 

 

Potentially growing COVID-19 outbreak at High River Cargill meatpacking plant

 

By Jessika Guse, Global News (Canada)

January 10, 2022

 

The home to one of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks in Canada in 2020 has been hit yet again with the virus.

 

UFCW Local 401 confirms to Global News the High River, Alta., Cargill meatpacking plant has at least 44 COVID-19 cases as of Sunday — though that number is likely to be higher, according to union president Tom Hesse.

 

Back in May 2020, the High River plant had more than 900 workers test positive for the disease, and three deaths were linked to the outbreak.

 

On Thursday, the union that represents roughly 2,000 workers sent a letter to Cargill outlining demands for changes to the work environment amid the Omicron variant spreading rapidly in the province.

 

Hesse asks the company how it plans to provide employees with proper PPE and rapid tests, if it has conducted an independent ventilation and air quality assessment and if Cargill plans to adjust its approach to sick pay and absences.

 

As of Monday morning, the union said it’s still awaiting a response.

 

Meantime, Cargill responded to an inquiry sent by Global News. The company states:

 

more

https://globalnews.ca/news/8499422/covid-19-outbreak-high-river-cargill-meat-packing-plant/