When Smithfield Foods resisted calls from his workers, the public, and the CDC do more for protect workers from coronavirus last year CEO Kenneth Sullivan shouted that slowing down Smithfield operations to prevent workers from contracting the coronavirus undermine America’s food security. Sullivan’s concerns seemed exaggeration and fear, especially in light of Smithfield and other butchers‘ expansion of meat exports to China.
Consumer advocates Food & Water Watch say Smithfield protests to protect profits violate District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act and are sue chinese meat grinder:
… According to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Washington, DC by Food & Water Watch (FWW), a nonprofit consumer advocacy group… [e]Even as Smithfield warned of a meat shortage, the company was exporting pork out of the country….
The lawsuit also cited government data, which showed that the inventory of US pork in cold storage “exceeded hundreds of millions of pounds.” Analysts estimated such an inventory would supply grocery stores for “months,” lawsuit said [Danielle Wiener-Bronner, “Advocacy Group Accuses Smithfield Foods of Falsely Warning of Meat Shortages,” CNN, 2021.06.21].
Food and Water Watch’s complaint includes data showing that the U.S. meat industry added huge amounts of meat on ice to his already huge stocks:
Federal data reviewed by USA TODAY shows that although U.S. beef and pork production fell in a six-week period from mid-March to Executive Order, exports of hundreds of millions of pounds of meat fell. are continued. The amount of beef and pork products exported during this period actually exceeded the amount of production lost from 2019 levels.[Co-executive director of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy Ben] Lilliston pointed out that the industry has also never cut supplies of meat in “cold storage” warehouses in the middle of the supply chain, which he said indicated a lacking supply.
In fact, cold-warehouse red meat and poultry products increased by about 40 million pounds from March through April, reaching 2.5 billion pounds, according to USDA data. [Kyle Bagenstone, “As Leaders Warned of US Meat Shortages, Overseas Exports of Pork and Beef Continued,” USA Today, 2020.06.16, updated 2021.01.26].
The complaint refers to an analysis by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy claiming that if Smithfield and other meat companies had not increased demand with fears of shortages, these stocks of meat could have kept our bellies full. . for more than a year:
If the depletion rate of frozen pork from NASS Cold Storage was linear (which is not the case due to non-monthly export shipments, holiday meat purchases, and panic purchases caused by statements such as that Sullivan and that of John Tyson), at £ 28 million per month, grocery stores could be supplied at current prices for up to 18 months, if all production were to stop for 18 months. What he won’t and doesn’t have to do.
A conservative depletion rate of 45 million pounds per month, to account for non-linearity, would still provide nearly 14 months of pork supply from the March 31 NASS benchmark. Meanwhile, slower production speeds to adapt to COVID-19 have demanded social distancing for meat processing workers could resupply private and public cold stores to meet domestic and export pork needs. . Similar exhaustion rates could be calculated for beef and poultry products frozen in cold storage. [Dr. Steve Suppan, “Cold Hard (Storage) Facts About Meatpacker Threats of Scarcity,” Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, 2020.05.01].
Food and water monitoring also complains in the DC Superior Court that Smithfield lied to us, customers, about protecting his workers from the coronavirus:
Second, Smithfield has distorted working conditions at its factories in an attempt to allay increased consumer concerns about worker safety. Line-level meat packaging workers, in part because of false fears of a meat shortage, had to work in person throughout the pandemic – often in cramped conditions on production lines overcrowded. Smithfield has repeatedly assured consumers through advertisements and a comprehensive social media campaign that the company is keeping its workers safe. Indeed, the company has highlighted workplace safety as an integral part of its marketing and branding efforts during the pandemic.
… Smithfield’s assurances of workplace safety were equally misleading. On this point, Smithfield’s track record speaks for itself, with corporate slaughterhouses repeatedly appearing as epicenters of COVID-19 epidemics. Additionally, Smithfield’s claims to consumers regarding specific workplace safety protocols – illustrated in detailed photographs, videos, and promotional material amplified via Smithfield’s website and social media accounts – are routinely refuted by safety quotes issued by government regulators and the accounts of the real Smithfield workers [Food and Water Watch, press release, 2021.06.21].
FWW asks court to declare “Smithfield’s conduct misled and deceived district consumers in violation of the CPPA” order “requiring Smithfield to do corrective advertising”, statutory damages of 1,500 $, punitive damages and litigation costs.