Smithfield Foods pork plant faces OSHA fine from outbreak

Smithfield Foods pork plant faces OSHA fine from outbreak
Employees of two departments at the Smithfield pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, S.D. report to work on Monday, May 4, 2020, as the plant moved to reopen after a coronavirus outbreak infected workers. (Source: AP Photo/Stephen Groves/AP)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Federal regulators have cited Smithfield Foods for failing to protect employees from exposure to the coronavirus at the company’s Sioux Falls plant, an early hot spot for virus infections that hobbled American meatpacking plants.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that employees were working closely together and exposed to the coronavirus.

The citation included the latest assessment of the virus' impact at the Sioux Falls plant, with four workers killed by COVID-19, at least 1,294 infected and 43 hospitalized.

Only two deaths among employees had been previously known.

Smithfield Foods, which is based in Virginia, says it plans to contest the citation and $13,494 fine.

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