Major Area Pork Producer Outlines How COVID-19 Is Impacting His Operations

Sat 5-9-2020

(Jackson, Mn.)-- A major producer of pork in the area who's operation has been heavily impacted by COVID-19 is giving his firsthand accounts on the matter.

Brad Freking of New Fashion Pork says a number of employees associated with the company's operations in Missouri have tested positive for the virus. But he says what was shocking was the number of those that were A-symptomatic, or never showed any symptoms of the disease...Freking01 

"We had 45 employees that went to the hospital and didn't come to work that tested positive, doing the right thing. And then we screened the other 2,400 employees voluntarily. So these were people that were temperatured, went through the thermal temperature like you get in the airports to tell if you've got a temperature. They were also temped before getting tested and no clinical symptoms and we ended up with almost 400 employees testing positive that didn't show a single sign."

Freking also commented on the issue of meat supplies. He says rationing is going to continue for quite some time to come...Freking02 

"The average daily pork harvest was around 500,000 head. For the last two weeks it dropped to 300,000 head a day. So it's only operating at 60 percent capacity. And the beef side is similar. So there are going to be shortages of meat, and that's already playing out. Wendy's has announced that they're not serving hamburgers; Kroger's is rationing. The meat is not being produced. The animals are being backed up in the supply chain but until we get back to those numbers, I mean meat will be rationed."

Hy-Vee has also put limits on the amount of meat that can be purchased during each visit to its stores.

(Please note this story has been revised from an earlier version to clarify the employees who tested positive are with the company's operations in Missouri and NOT with any of their local operations.)