Hoeven: Administration Provides Guidance to Help Ensure Safe Operation of Meat Processing Facilities

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today issued the following statement after Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue reaffirmed guidance to state governors and industry stakeholders on the safe operation of meat processing facilities during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The guidance reinforces the safety protocols recently issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), directing companies to submit their plans for implementing the administration’s directives. 

This follows President Donald Trump invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA) last month to ensure the continued operation of meat packing plants as essential infrastructure for the nation. Hoeven has been working with the administration and his colleagues to safely maintain the nation’s food supply chain.

“We appreciate the administration for continuing to work with us to ensure our producers can market their products, while also maintaining safety and consumer access to the high-quality food raised by America’s ranchers,” said Hoeven. “This guidance supports the integrity of our nation’s food supply chain, while helping preserve the health and well-being of this essential part of our economy.”

Hoeven has been working with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, administration officials and farm state senators, including Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, John Boozman and Thom Tillis, to ensure food processing plants are able to safely operate, which is vital to maintaining the nation’s food supply and ensuring producers are able to market their products.Specifically, Hoeven has outlined the importance of:

  • Providing workers at food processing plants with better access to personal protective gear and testing.
  • Helping workers to maintain social distancing to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

Previously, at the urging of Hoeven and his colleagues, the administration issued interim guidance to help combat the spread of COVID-19 while supporting the continued operation of meat and poultry processing facilities.