President Donald Trump declares meat and poultry workers as essential workers. The beef, pork and poultry industry must stay open and continue to operate, according to the executive order.
The order is to ensure a continuous supply of protein for Americans.
“Such closures threaten the continued functioning of the national meat and poultry supply chain, undermining critical infrastructure during the national emergency,” according to the executive order. “Given the high volume of meat and poultry processed by many facilities, any unnecessary closures can quickly have a large effect on the food supply chain.”
The closure of a single large beef processing facility can lose over 10 million individual servings of beef in a day, according to the executive order, and can severely disrupt the supply of protein to grocery stores.
The executive order states the meat and poultry industry meet the criteria of section 101(b) of the Act [50 U.S.C. 4511(b)], which allows the president to order meat and poultry processing plants to remain open under the Defense Production Act of 1950. This allows the secretary of agriculture to take action to ensure meat and poultry processors continue operations consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines.
“Secretary of Agriculture shall use the authority under section 101 of the Act, in consultation with the heads of such other executive departments and agencies as he deems appropriate, to determine the proper nationwide priorities and allocation of all the materials, services, and facilities necessary to ensure the continued supply of meat and poultry, consistent with the guidance for the operations of meat and poultry processing facilities jointly issued by the CDC and OSHA,” according to the executive order.
The order will not negatively impact the authority of executive departments or agencies, head of departments, the functions of the director of the office of management and budget relating to budgetary, administrative or legislative proposals.
The order will be consistent with applicable law and can be subject to the availability of appropriations.
This order is not intended to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents or any other person.