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Tyson Foods Waterloo plant to suspend operations indefinitely

The Tyson Foods processing plant in Waterloo on Thursday, April 16, 2020. (Brian Tabick/KCRG)
The Tyson Foods processing plant in Waterloo on Thursday, April 16, 2020. (Brian Tabick/KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: Apr. 22, 2020 at 8:24 AM CDT
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Tyson Fresh Meats, a subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc., announced its plans to indefinitely suspend operations at its Waterloo plant.

The plant is the company's largest pork plant. It had been running at reduced levels of production due to worker absenteeism, but will stop production until further notice this week. The company also announced that the plant's 2,800 workers will be invited to come to the plant later this week for COVID-19 testing.

“Despite our continued efforts to keep our people safe while fulfilling our critical role of feeding American families, the combination of worker absenteeism, COVID-19 cases and community concerns has resulted in our decision to stop production," said Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats. "The closure has significant ramifications beyond our company, since the plant is part of a larger supply chain that includes hundreds of independent farmers, truckers, distributors and customers, including grocers. It means the loss of a vital market outlet for farmers and further contributes to the disruption of the nation’s pork supply.”

Plant workers affected by the closure will continue to be compensated. The company said the timing of resuming operations will depend on several factors, including the testing of team members for COVID-19.

Other Tyson Foods' meat and poultry plants will continue to operate, but some continue to run at reduced levels of production.