Covid Hit U.S. Meat Plants Far Harder Than Thought, Report Says

× Covid Hit U.S. Meat Plants Far Harder Than Thought, Report Says It’s a story we’ve heard before: animal flu scare forces a forced shutdown of a major meat plant. This time, however, what…

Covid Hit U.S. Meat Plants Far Harder Than Thought, Report Says

× Covid Hit U.S. Meat Plants Far Harder Than Thought, Report Says

It’s a story we’ve heard before: animal flu scare forces a forced shutdown of a major meat plant.

This time, however, what happened at a turkey slaughterhouse in Independence, Missouri, was not just a bad PR move for the plant, but a new evidence that biosecurity standards in meat plants don’t really stand up to the public.

On Tuesday, public health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a new case of avian influenza, or avian flu, which was responsible for shutting down a turkey slaughterhouse in Independence, Missouri last week. The plant slaughterhouse workers have confirmed that the facility, Liberty Processors, has been shut down and that they are restricted to the premises.

The CDC said the H5N2 strain of avian flu was confirmed in two birds at the facility. The flock currently is quarantined, and it is not yet known if there is an outbreak among birds on the property, as the examination has not yet been completed.

The Center for Food Safety released a report last week that looked at what happened at the Independence, Missouri plant, and also the Piedmont, Virginia, plant shut down by the USDA after officials detected a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza on a single chicken carcass.

As in the Independence, MO, case, all of the birds that tested positive for avian influenza at the Piedmont, Virginia, plant tested positive in August, according to the report. But as in Independence, the Center for Food Safety report shows that the kill of millions of chickens raised for poultry and killed under the USDA’s Poultry Strike Force program was handled in an incomplete and haphazard manner that put the entire community at risk.

The birds became infected with highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza within seven days of arriving at the plant.

In a statement, Georgia-Pacific, which owns Liberty Processors, said that they would be “investigating and evaluating our disinfection protocols.” The company did not say specifically if it would be closing the plant again.

By Ashley M. Heher, CNN

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