Trump to invoke Defense Production Act to shore up vulnerable food supply chain

Amid concerning reports that the nation is facing severe meat shortages due to the coronavirus crisis, Donald Trump is planning to invoke the Defense Production Act to keep food processing plants open. 

Fox News reported on Tuesday that “The order will invoke the Defense Production Act and will deem the facilities a part of the country’s critical infrastructure […] The federal government will also supply additional personal protective gear to plant employees.”

Tyson Foods, one of the major suppliers of meats to the nation took out a full-page ad in the New York Times on Sunday to warn readers about the impending shortage.

The structure of such meat processing plants makes social distancing nearly impossible, and processing plants across the nation have begun shutting down after numerous outbreaks within the facilities.

Tyson Foods Chairman John H. Tyson wrote in the PSA, “This means one thing — the food supply chain is vulnerable. As pork, beef and chicken plants are being forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain.”

“In addition to meat shortages, this is a serious food waste issue,” Tyson continued. “Farmers across the nation simply will not have anywhere to sell their livestock to be processed, when they could have fed the nation. Millions of animals – chickens, pigs and cattle – will be depopulated because of the closure of our processing facilities. The food supply chain is breaking.”

Axios reported that the White House is working with the Labor Department to implement measures to protect workers in the industry while still keeping supply chains intact.

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