Food Justice Organizations Are Taking Action Against Tyson For Reportedly Not Protecting Their Workers From COVID-19

Alexis Morillo
Photo credit: Mark Reinstein - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mark Reinstein - Getty Images

From Delish

A number of organizations that focus on food justice, labor rights, animal welfare, and environmental justice have teamed up to take action against Tyson Foods. A total of 122 groups wrote a letter to the company's shareholders to demand a response from them about the growing number of COVID-19 cases connected to their meat plants.

At the start of the pandemic, Tyson Foods shut down a couple of their facilities due to health and safety concerns, one of which was a pork processing plant in Iowa. In April, Tyson penned an open letter that was published as a full-page ad in multiple newspapers that warned readers that the food supply chain is "breaking." Two weeks ago, China announced they were no longer accepting items from Tyson Foods' Springdale, AR, facility.

Now, the aforementioned organizations are demanding answers from Tyson about what they're doing to keep their employees safe. According to research by Investigate Midwest, out of all of the big name meat processing companies, Tyson is tied to the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases by far. With more than 8,500 employees reportedly having tested positive for the virus, that puts Tyson's numbers at more than double any other company.

The group of organizations, which includes places like Greenpeace USA and The Humane League, said that the situation requires immediate action before more workers are put in harm's way. "The situation has never been more dire; meatpacking workers are risking their lives just by going to work under unsafe conditions," they wrote in their letter.

They called on Tyson Foods to make changes to their policies to keep their employees safe, including things like providing PPE, paid sick leave, offering testing at plant sites, and ensuring social distancing to those working in the factories. The letter was sent to a board of Tyson higher-ups, including CEO Noel White.

Tyson has not yet responded to a request for comment from Delish. You can read the letter in full here.

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