WORLD NEWS – US – Smithfield and the subcontractor face heavy fines for COVID-19 violations in California


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Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork processor, and subcontractor faces over $ 100,000 fines from a California workplace safety regulator for failing to protect employees from COVID-19.

Sanctions increase pressure on China-owned Smithfield over working conditions in the United States during the health crisis, after federal regulators hit a meatpacking plant and others with lower fines.

The California regulator, known as Cal / OSHA, has released the « largest meatpacking plant quotation nationwide » for the Smithfield Farmer John Factory in Vernon, California, according to the United Food and Trade Workers’ Federation, which represents meat packing workers.

The union said that more than 315 of 1,800 workers at the factory have contracted COVID-19 since March, with at least three people hospitalized.. .

Smithfield and its sub-contractor, CitiStaff Solutions, failed to ensure employees used masks and had physical barriers like plexiglass in between to keep them safe, according to Cal / OSHA.

The regulator said companies have also failed to train employees on the risks of COVID-19, including how the virus spreads and how they can avoid infection. .

Nearly 20 meat plants run by companies like Smithfield, Tyson Foods and JBS were temporarily closed this spring due to an outbreak among workers, limiting supplies.

The company said it provided masks, face shields and other personal protective equipment to workers during the period covered by the martyrs. The citations also cover a time when employers were asked not to order masks, according to the Smithfield Foundation.

« They never take our health seriously, » Jose Guzman, John’s farm worker, said in a statement.. “We are within their reach as long as their profits continue to rise.  »

Smithfield in September became the first major meatpacker company cited by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for failing to protect employees from COVID-19, following an outbreak at a South Dakota pig meat plant.

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The high death rate from final weaning continues to plague the pork industry. While price cuts are possible, it is not an easy thing, p . . .

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As China rebuilds its pork production capacity, the US pork sector must take steps to minimize the impact of lower trade flows in the future.

Coronavirus, California Department of Occupational Safety and Health, California, Smithfield Foods, John Farms, subcontractor

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