DES MOINES, IOWA — Tyson Foods confirmed on May 28 that it finished conducting large-scale COVID-19 testing at its pork processing plant in Storm Lake, Iowa.
“We will disclose verified test results, once complete data is available, with health and government officials, team members and other stakeholders,” said Liz Croston, Tyson Foods spokesperson. “This is part of our efforts to help communities where we operate better understand COVID-19 and the protective measures that can be taken to help prevent its spread.”
Croston added that throughout its plants the company has put in protective measures that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidelines to prevent COVID-19.
“In several of our facilities we have slowed down our line speed based on the availability of team members and to allow for proper social distancing,” she said.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), 697 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Buena Vista County where the Tyson pork processing plant is located. A recent report by The Des Moines Register said that more than 400 positive cases were identified during this week in Buena Vista County.
At a May 27 press conference, Iowa government officials said they will confirm outbreaks of COVID-19 at businesses like meatpacking plants when they are asked by the media. Later in the press conference, Sarah Reisetter, IDPH director said the department will report outbreaks at meatpacking facilities when 10% of employees test positive for COVID-19.
Tyson Foods has dealt with several outbreaks in Iowa over the last two months.
The company closed its pork plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, for two weeks from April 7-20. Between April 20 and 24, Tyson closed its pork plant in Perry, Iowa, for two days. At the time, the IDPH reported 730 employees, or nearly 60% of the workforce, tested positive for COVID-19.
From April 22-May 7, Tyson suspended operations at its pork plant in Waterloo, Iowa.