SMITHFIELD, VA. – Empty meat cases may have consumers on edge, but Ken Sullivan, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods, said worker and food safety remain top priorities as production continues at the company’s processing plants.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of the US Department of Homeland Security issued a memo on March 19 offering guidance on identifying “critical infrastructure workers” that manufacture and support a range of products and services that are essential to continued critical infrastructure viability in the United States.

“The industries they support represent, but are not necessarily limited to, medical and health care, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement, and public works,” according to the memo.

Part of Sullivan’s message highlighted the critical role of agriculture and food production workers in the ongoing supply of food.

“As a leading global food and protein company, we understand that continuing to deliver nutritious, delicious and affordable food, and protein specifically, to our communities is of vital importance, now more than ever,” Sullivan said. “Food is an essential part of all our lives, and our more than 40,000 US team members, thousands of American family farmers and our many other supply chain partners are a crucial part of our nation’s response to COVID-19. At Smithfield, we are committed to keeping food on tables across America: today, tomorrow and every day. To each and every one of them, thank you.”