Testing of workers at meatpacking plants may receive more attention in the next version of guidance meant to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection at those facilities, the head of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health said Thursday.
Packing plants shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic are mostly up and running once again, which is placing a new focus on testing and the availability of personal protective equipment to keep their doors open.
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a community advocacy group and a worker at Smithfield’s Milan, Mo., pork plant, finding the company has taken “significant steps … to reduce the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak at the plant.”
President Donald Trump defended his actions to end a “bottleneck” in the food supply, but legal experts differed over whether an executive order aimed at ensuring meatpackers keep operating amid the coronavirus pandemic could override state and local objections or make companies immune from lawsuits.
Meat and poultry plants should implement social distancing and “consider the appropriate role for testing and workplace contact tracing” in helping to control COVID-19 at their facilities, according to new guidance issued by federal agencies.