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CEO of JBS: Coronavirus to slow US meat production for months

The CEO of a Brazilian meat processing company that reported coronavirus outbreaks on its facility lines last month told the Wall Street Journal that the industry as a whole is expecting a slowdown in meat production in the coming months.

“We will not be able to go to full capacity anytime soon as we fight this virus because of all the changes we have implemented,” Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA, a unit of the  Brazilian meat conglomerate JBS SA, told the Journal.  

The company slaughters 23 percent of the U.S.’s cattle and produces nearly one-fifth of its pork, according to the Journal.

Last month, one of its processing plants in Worthington, Minn., had an outbreak of coronavirus. 

President Trump invoked the 1950 Defense Production Act in late April to declare the plants “critical infrastructure,” compelling facilities to remain open during the pandemic.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Friday that he does not expect a food shortage like Nogueira is suggesting, adding that workers returning to processing facilities will have increased protections to avoid infection. 

Nogueira told the Journal his company is working with health officials to put in place safety measures as the facilities return to 90 percent capacity.

Representatives from JBS, along with Smithfield Foods and Tyson Foods, which also saw outbreaks in their meat packing facilities, were questioned by the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday. 

Tags Donald Trump Sonny Perdue

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