On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue sent the following two letters to governors across the nation and to the leadership of major meat processing companies. The letters establish the USDA's clear expectations for the implementation of President Donald J. Trump's Executive Order signed last week. The President's Executive order directs plants to follow the Centers for Disease Control and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidance specific to the meat processing industry to keep these critical facilities open while maintaining worker safety.
"USDA expects state and local officials to work with these critical meat processing facilities to maintain operational status while protecting the health of their employees," Secretary Perdue says. "Meat processing facilities are critical infrastructure and are essential to the national security of our nation. Keeping these facilities operational is critical to the food supply chain and we expect our partners across the country to work with us on this issue."
Secretary Perdue today also applauded the decision made by the District Court of Western Missouri which ruled that the OSHA has the primary jurisdiction over workers' safety in meat processing plants across the country during the COVID-19 national emergency.
"This ruling affirms that OSHA is the primary entity that has authority over worker's safety," Secretary Perdue says. "Since President Trump issued his Executive Order last week to keep these critical facilities operating, USDA has been working hand in hand with OSHA and the CDC to ensure meat processing facilities are abiding by federal guidelines. This ruling is directly in line with what the federal government has been calling for companies and communities to do in light of the President's Executive Order. If we continue to work together, we can maintain the critical supply of meat and poultry for Americans while also protecting worker health and safety."