Tags: Coronavirus | tammy baldwin | smithfield foods | coronavirus

Baldwin: Senate Panel Should Probe COVID Meatpacking Plant Outbreak

Baldwin: Senate Panel Should Probe COVID Meatpacking Plant Outbreak
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), listens during a hearing of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee reviewing coronavirus response efforts on September 16, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 15 October 2020 12:45 PM

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., is urging the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to convene a hearing on the federal response to a coronavirus outbreak at a meatpacking plant last April.

Smithfield Foods shut down a major meatpacking plant in April after a coronavirus outbreak infected over 1,000 workers, killing four.

Baldwin, who is the ranking member of the Employment and Workforce Safety subcommittee, wrote a letter to HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and the other members of the panel to hold a hearing with the heads of the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Labor.

“We are now more than seven months into this fight, and we have yet to hold a hearing about the impact of this virus on workers. This is unacceptable, especially given the recent reporting and revelations regarding industry efforts to influence public health recommendations made by the CDC,” the senator wrote, according to The Hill.

The CDC traveled to the plant to make recommendations on how to operate safely, but those guidelines were reportedly withdrawn and weakened in the final product. CDC Director Robert Redfield has said since the incident that he held talks with the USDA and DOL at the time.

“Dr. Redfield defended the changes made to the report as edits to reflect that CDC is not a regulatory agency,” Baldwin wrote. “Recent reporting indicates that Dr. Redfield had an additional and previously undisclosed conversation about the CDC guidance for the Smithfield facility in question. A recent article in the New York Times reports that Dr. Redfield, at the direction of members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, including its chair Vice President [Mike] Pence, altered the CDC report."

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Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., is urging the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to convene a hearing on the federal response to a coronavirus outbreak at a meatpacking plant last April. Smithfield Foods shut down a major meatpacking plant in April...
tammy baldwin, smithfield foods, coronavirus
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2020-45-15
Thursday, 15 October 2020 12:45 PM
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