Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Coronavirus hit meat plants just as workers were being asked to speed up


Elizabeth Flores – Star Tribune

The USDA has allowed chicken processors to boost production-line speeds in recent months, though the JBS plant in Cold Spring, shown here in a 2016 photo, hasn't made the change.

The coronavirus began to spread through U.S. slaughterhouses this spring just when workers, already performing some of the most dangerous jobs anywhere, were being asked to take more risks by going faster.

Even as the outbreak began to force plants to temporarily close last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture continued granting permission to chicken processors to boost speeds by 25% on production lines. And the agency late last year approved an inspection system that would let pork plants abolish line-speed limits - now set at 1,106 hogs an hour - altogether.


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