Yesterday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue served two letters to governors across the country and leaders of major meat processing companies. The two letters outline the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s “clear expectations for the implementation of President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order signed last week.
President Trump’s Executive Order instructs meat plants to follow guidance published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). That guidance, published in late April, is meant to help keep these critical facilities open while maintaining worker safety.
One of the letters directs meat and poultry processing plants that are currently closed and have no clear timetable for resuming operations to submit written documentation of their protocol to USDA. That protocol should be based on the CDC/OSHA guidance and these plants should resume operations as soon as they are able to after implementing said guidance for the protection of workers.
USDA says the agency will work with CDC, OSHA, state, and local officials to ensure that facilities are implementing best practices designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining operations. Further action under the Executive Order is under consideration and will be taken if necessary, says USDA.