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Tyson Foods Closes Major Beef Plant For Covid-19 Testing

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Tyson Foods, Inc.'s beef and pork subsidiary Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. said it will halt production at its beef facility in Pasco, Washington indefinitely for testing team members for COVID-19.

The company noted that its more than 1,400 team members at the facility will be tested by local health officials in Walla Walla, Benton, and Franklin Counties for coronavirus as soon as possible. Last week, the local health department had visited the beef facility to observe the company's protective measures.

Tyson Foods said resuming operations is dependent on the outcome of team member testing for COVID-19 and how long it takes to get results back.

During the period, the employees at the facility, which produces enough beef in one day to feed four million people, will continue to be compensated. The company has asked them to self-isolate at home until they get the results.

Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats, said, "Unfortunately, the closure will mean reduced food supplies and presents problems to farmers who have no place to take their livestock. It's a complicated situation across the supply chain."

Earlier this week, Tyson Foods announced its plans to indefinitely suspend operations at Tyson Fresh Meats' Waterloo, Iowa, pork plant. The company will also voluntarily close its pork facility in Logansport, Indiana, while team members undergo testing.

Other meat and poultry plants currently continue to operate, but with reduced levels of production.

In mid April, Smithfield Foods had closed its pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota until further notice after hundreds of employees tested positive for COVID-19.

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