WASHINGTON, DC — On Sept. 10, the North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) released the following statement from Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts regarding an Occupational and Safety Health Administration citation related to COVID-19.
“While the meat and poultry industry remains vigilant working with many government agencies to stop the spread of COVID-19, OSHA engages in revisionism. The meat and poultry industry’s first priority is the safety of the men and women who work in their facilities. Notwithstanding inconsistent and sometimes tardy government advice, (‘don’t wear a mask/wear a mask’/April 26 OSHA guidance specific to the meat and poultry industry) when the pandemic hit in mid-March, meat and poultry processing companies quickly and diligently took steps to protect their workers. Companies had to overcome challenges associated with limited personal protective equipment, they implemented screening systems to keep sick employees out of plants, developed COVID-19 plans with administrative and engineering controls to protect workers which included and but were not limited to the CDC/OSHA guidelines.
“Most importantly, as evidenced in trends in data collected by the Food and Environment Reporting Network and The New York Times, these many programs and controls once in place worked and continue to work. Positive cases of COVID-19 associated with meat and poultry companies are trending down compared with cases nationwide.” (see charts below)
The North American Meat Institute is the leading voice for the meat and poultry industry. The Meat Institute’s members process the vast majority of U.S. beef, pork, lamb, and poultry, as well as manufacture the equipment and ingredients needed to produce the safest and highest quality meat and poultry products.