STORM LAKE, IOWA – Tyson Foods, Inc. is temporarily closing its Storm Lake, Iowa, pork processing plant. The decision was due in part to a delay in COVID-19 test results and worker absences related to quarantine and other factors, the company said. The plant employs more than 2,500.
“We will idle harvesting animals and finish processing over the next two days,” Tyson said. “Additional deep cleaning and sanitizing of the entire facility will be conducted before resuming operations later next week.”
The company had recently completed a large-scale COVID-19 testing initiative at the plant. Data from the Iowa Department of Public Health show that, as of May 28, 702 positive cases of coronavirus were recorded in Buena Vista County, where the Storm Lake plant is located.
“The company is working closely with local health officials and has completed COVID-19 testing of team members and contractors at the plant,” the company said. “Tyson will share verified test results, once complete data is available, with health and government officials, team members and other stakeholders as part of our efforts to help communities where we operate better understand the coronavirus and the protective measures that can be taken to help prevent its spread.
“When operations resume, team members at Tyson’s Storm Lake facility will continue to have access to additional testing, daily clinical symptom screenings, nurse practitioners and enhanced education through Matrix Medical which has a mobile unit onsite. These programs are in addition to a host of protective measures Tyson has put in place that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidance for preventing COVID-19.”
Tyson has temporarily closed other pork processing plants it operates in Iowa, including facilities in Columbus Junction, Perry and Waterloo.