Smithfield Foods, Inc. has expressed its support for the activation of the Defense Production Act which safeguards the country's food supply that provides sustenance to hundreds of millions of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also protects the livelihoods of millions of American family farmers who produce bountiful livestock supplies but rely on meat processing facilities to convert that abundance into food. Grocers and restaurants are dependent on farmers, processors and distributors to supply protein to the country. This action helps ensure the American people will not experience protein shortages.
The executive order, together with the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the Department of Labor, provides a much-needed framework that prioritizes employee health and well-being, while also stabilizing the country's food supply and preventing the collapse of the agricultural economy. The company appreciates the Administration's partnership, along with various other local, state and federal healthcare authorities and public officials and its union representatives during these unprecedented and enormously challenging times.
The company is grateful to its employees and its union representatives, who are frontline responders, for their patriotism and willingness to step up in a selfless way to keep food on tables during this global pandemic. Importantly, the company believes that the executive order will provide priority assistance in securing an ongoing supply of critical PPE, as well as aid the company in securing broader COVID-19 testing for its employees.
The company stated that it was quick to adopt a series of processes, protocols and protective measures that follow, and in many cases exceed, the strict guidance of the CDC and OSHA. Across all its facilities, the company is providing team members with abundant personal protective equipment, including masks and face shields, has implemented mass thermal scanning and installed physical barriers on its production floors and in break areas. In addition to guaranteeing pay to employees impacted by COVID-19 and dedicating $120 million to bonuses for its team members, the company has not furloughed or laid off a single worker, despite closing multiple facilities and numerous lines falling dormant in other locations. The company is evaluating next steps to open its currently shuttered facilities and will make announcements when it is ready to resume operations in each location.