JBS to Shut Colorado Beef Plant Through April 24 on Outbreak

(Bloomberg) -- JBS SA, the world’s top meat company, will shutter its beef facility in Greeley, Colorado, through April 24 amid an outbreak of the coronavirus among plant employees and neighboring communities.

The Greeley facility will wind down operations over the next two days with a diminished staff to ensure existing product in the facility can be used to support food supply needs, the company said in a statement on Monday. The move comes after union officials reported that at least 50 people employed at the plant in Colorado’s Weld County tested positive for the virus, with two employee deaths reported from complications related to Covid-19.

Officials intend to bring “this critical part of our national infrastructure on line sooner rather than later,” Colorado Governor Jared Polis said at a news briefing on Monday.

“There’s no evidence at all that there’s any risk to consumers,” Polis said. “It’s an issue within the plant.”

The Greeley beef production facility is the second JBS USA plant to temporarily close, joining the Souderton, Pennsylvania, beef production facility. The company has also experienced increased absenteeism in a few other plants, but continues to operate the majority of its facilities across the country at or near capacity, it said.

“While the Greeley beef facility is critical to the U.S. food supply and local producers, the continued spread of coronavirus in Weld County requires decisive action,” said Andre Nogueira, chief executive officer of JBS USA, the American unit of the Brazilian meatpacker.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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