Kansas meatpacking plants need to come clean about virus

They must share the information they receive about their workers, while respecting privacy concerns. They must make clear what they’re doing to mitigate risk of illness for those working right now.

By

Opinion

April 23, 2020 - 9:08 AM

The new coronavirus has arrived at the state’s meatpacking plants. It was to be expected, perhaps, given the outbreaks at food processors in other states, but that doesn’t make the development any less ominous or challenging.

Or as The Topeka Capital-Journal’s Tim Carpenter put it: “The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 187 positive cases in Ford County, 80 cases in Seward County, 41 cases in Finney County and 110 cases in Lyon County. Major packing plants are located in Dodge City, Garden City and Emporia.”

The Kansas meatpacking industry employs thousands of people, and it supplies some 20% to 30% of the nation’s beef. Processing meat is a cramped, difficult business, and the environment is primed for quick and efficient transmission of the virus.

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