In this file:

 

·         Co-workers with coronavirus symptoms going back to work, untested: Smithfield Milan worker

The anonymous employee told KTVO that their motivation stems only from concern for their coworkers' health.

 

·         They’re Called Essential, But Food Workers Are Resisting

… These pockets of resistance along the supply chain underscore the balancing act needed to contain the coronavirus and protect workers deemed essential while delivering goods and services. It’s an especially acute issue given that transportation, labor and other logistical woes have already made it hard to get food where it needs to be in the pandemic era…

 

·         Another fat year for food group WH

Net profit of mainland meat and food processor WH Group (0288) last year grew 31.7 percent from a year ago to US$1.38 billion (HK$10.76 billion), and says it has no plans to increase prices, despite rising pork prices...

 

 

 

Co-workers with coronavirus symptoms going back to work, untested: Smithfield Milan worker

The anonymous employee told KTVO that their motivation stems only from concern for their coworkers' health.

 

by AJ Capuano, KTVO (MO)

March 24th 2020

 

MILAN, Mo. — For such a small town, Milan, Missouri makes a lot of pork.

 

Smithfield’s Farmland Foods is part of the world's largest pork processing company, WH Group, which is headquartered in China, and has majority stakeholders in Beijing.

 

In America, Smithfield makes a variety of packaged pork products under many big brands like Eckrich, Nathan's and Farmland.

 

Last week, a worker at the the Milan pork processing plant reached out to KTVO, saying:

 

    I don't know who to turn to. Given the coronavirus problem, I think they should close Smithfiel [sic] foods, A case is suspected, but nobody talks or does anything.

 

    It would be a shame if more than 1000 people are infected.

 

We asked the Sullivan County Health Department if there were any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Sullivan County.

 

Sullivan County Health Department Administrator Deborah Taylor told KTVO late last week, quote, “no positive cases of COVID-19 at this time.”

 

When asked directly if there were any suspected cases or pending test kits, for COVID-19 in Sullivan County, Taylor directed us to the state’s website for further updates.

 

Under condition of anonymity, KTVO were sent a video this week, recorded on the worker's cell phone, where the worker explains why the situation at the Milan plant concerns them.

 

    At the present time there are more than a thousand people, working in a place where we all work side by side, and one person or another starts to show a symptom, and the company only sends them home for three or four days and then they come back, and go back to work, without knowing if they might have the coronavirus," the worker states in the video.

 

On Tuesday, we called the in-house nurses’ office at the Milan Smithfield plant. After our call made it past the operator, we asked if any workers at the Smithfield factory had been sent home with symptoms characteristic of the virus.

 

    I've got a number I can refer you to," the nurse said.

 

    You don't know whether or not you sent employees home to be tested?" we asked.

 

    Do you want the number?" the nurse replied.

 

We were then instructed to call a corporate number at Smithfield with our question. That person sent us to another office number. Then, another. You get the idea.

 

The trail went cold, so we rang up the corporate "Media Relations" number. It went to voicemail.

 

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a new impetus in the U.S. on keeping "essential businesses" open, as we weather the outbreak, growing at a faster and faster rate each day.

 

Therefore it makes sense that the federal government, via the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has issued a memo to food production operations: stay open.

 

Regarding the recommendations, Director of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Christopher C. Krebs writes...

 

more, including links, video report [2:33 min.]      

https://ktvo.com/news/local/smithfield-milan-workers-back-at-work-without-knowing-if-they-might-have-the-coronavirus

 

 

They’re Called Essential, But Food Workers Are Resisting

 

Tatiana Freitas and Lydia Mulvany, Bloomberg

via Yahoo Finance - March 24, 2020

 

(Bloomberg) -- Federal governments have been quick to exempt food makers and distributors from lockdowns -- after all, people have to eat. Now some local authorities and unions are fighting back.

 

Mayors in South America have halted some aspects of agricultural production. Unions have threatened to strike over safety concerns. And some poultry workers in the U.S. walked off the job.

 

These pockets of resistance along the supply chain underscore the balancing act needed to contain the coronavirus and protect workers deemed essential while delivering goods and services. It’s an especially acute issue given that transportation, labor and other logistical woes have already made it hard to get food where it needs to be in the pandemic era.

 

In Brazil, a union nearly succeeded in shutting down two JBS SA chicken facilities by convincing a judge that the health risks were too great. In the U.S., chicken giant Perdue Farms is trying to appease workers after two dozen employees at a 600-person plant in Kathleen, Georgia, staged a walkout. The first meat processing employee to test positive for coronavirus in the U.S. also materialized Monday, at a Sanderson Farms Inc. plant.

 

“These brave workers walked out to protect themselves, their community and the public,” said Debbie Berkowitz, worker health and safety program director at the National Employment Law Project, who added that meat plant workers should get raises for the risks they’re taking.

 

Full Tilt

 

While none of the meat plant incidents have so far caused operational disruptions, there are concerns that more may be coming, causing supply chain hiccups right as consumers are binge-buying groceries to fuel shelter-in-place lockdowns.

 

The U.S. pork industry has requested more guest worker visas, and there’s speculation that plants have been running full-tilt not only to supply unprecedented retail food demand, but also to get as much production in as possible before virus-related disruptions slow the pace.

 

It’s not only meat. Some mayors in key Brazilian agricultural areas are halting transportation as a way to contain the virus. The mayor of Canarana in Mato Grosso state halted trucking to grain ports, and the mayor of Rondonopolis has ordered mills to stop operating. Repair shops are also facing restrictions...

 

more

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/called-essential-local-food-workers-185300786.html

 

 

Another fat year for food group WH

 

Stella Zhai, The Standard (Hong Kong) 

25 Mar 2020

 

Net profit of mainland meat and food processor WH Group (0288) last year grew 31.7 percent from a year ago to US$1.38 billion (HK$10.76 billion), and says it has no plans to increase prices, despite rising pork prices.

 

The coronavirus outbreak has had limited impact on the company's sales, given large global demand.

 

Basic earnings per share last year were 9.37 US cents and a final dividend of 26.5 HK cents was declared, making a full-year dividend of 31.5 HK cents. Revenue rose 6.6 percent year-on-year to US$24.1 billion in 2019.

 

The total number of hogs processed last year was 53.8 million, a decrease of 4.1 percent from 2018, dragged down by a 19 percent decline in numbers from its slaughtering business in China.

 

Chairman Wan Long said the company's business was supported by the government and communities amid the coronavirus epidemic and 95 percent of the company's factories have resumed operations.

 

Shares of the company jumped 10.74 percent before the result announcement, closing at HK$6.60.

 

Cofco Meat (1610) recorded a net profit for last year of...

 

more

https://www.thestandard.com.hk/section-news/section/2/217558/Another-fat-year-for-food-group-WH