Authored by: Ollie Lammers
The Food & Water Watch, represented by Public Justice, recently filed a lawsuit against Smithfield Foods. Public Justice filed the lawsuit alleging the meat processing company lied to consumers during the pandemic to protect their bottom line at the expense of their workers.
According to FoodandWaterWatch.org, Smithfield mounted an aggressive marketing campaign to claiming they were protecting its workers during the pandemic. The company also claimed there would be a meat shortage if meat packing processing plants have to close.
The company claimed to be protecting its meatpacking workers and addressed consumers' concerns via advertising, social media, and website disclosures. Smithfield claimed to be providing protective equipment, relaxing leave policies, and partnering with state and local health departments.
The lawsuit claims the Smithfield slaughterhouses repeatedly emerged as epicenters for COVID-19 outbreaks. As a result, over 3,200 employees contracted COVID-19, and the company undermined the government by not reporting more cases.
According to the lawsuit, Smithfield stoked consumer fear about a meat shortage which drove up sales and demand for their products. As a result, the company was drastically increasing its foreign pork exports and keeping pounds of meat in freezers that could keep grocery stores stocked if the factories needed to be closed for months.
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If you are interested in learning more about the safety of meatpacking workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here to listen to The How David Beats Goliath Podcast episode 16 Cases That Made a Difference™ The Importance of Worker's Rights in the Meat Packing Industry with Public Justice.
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