CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump ordered meat processing plants to stay open to protect the nation’s food supply even as workers got sick and died. Yet the plants have increasingly been exporting to China while U.S. consumers face shortages, a Reuters analysis of government data showed.
FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators stand outside the closed Smithfield Foods pork plant, the world’s biggest pork processor, after it was closed indefinitely due to a rash of coronavirus cases among employees as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, U.S., April 17, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Trump, who is in an acrimonious public dispute with Beijing over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, invoked the 1950 Defense Production Act on April 28 to keep plants open. Now he is facing criticism from some lawmakers, consumers and plant employees for putting workers at risk in part to help ensure China’s meat supply.
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