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Ninety People at Tyson Chicken Plant Test Positive for COVID-19

Plus, a CO2 shortage could threaten your seltzer, and more news to start your day

A shopper examines packages of Tyson brand chicken products in the refrigerator section of an Associated Supermarket Photo by Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

Meat processing plant employees continue to get hit hard by COVID-19

Ninety workers at a Tyson plant in Goodlettsville, Tennessee have tested positive for COVID-19. CNN reports that Tyson will now test workers’ temperatures, and require workers to wear face coverings, as well as expand typically tight work spaces into tents.

Meat plants across the country have already shuttered because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, whether because employees cannot properly distance, or because of the difficulty of taking proper sanitary measures. A Tyson plant in Georgia also offered workers “a $500 bonus if they worked April through June without missing a single day,” meaning anyone feeling ill may choose money over their own health and the health of others. Two people who worked at a Tyson pork plant in Iowa have died from COVID-19, as have three people who worked at a Tyson chicken plant in Georgia.

Meat plant shutdowns are leading to a shortage of meat at grocery stores, and rising prices. It’s just one more way the supply chain is being disrupted because of the pandemic. But the alternative is workers risking their health for their jobs, and no one should have to do that.

And in other news...

  • Did you have to cancel your wedding because of the pandemic? Now you can get a year of Busch beer for free. Congrats? [CNN]
  • Walmart is hiring 50,000 people—mostly part-time and contract—as demand for groceries surges. [CNBC]
  • The FDA is loosening the regulations around egg labeling in grocery stores, so the supply can move faster. [Modern Farmer]
  • In shortages you didn’t see coming, beer, soda and seltzer may be at risk because of the closure of ethanol plants, which produce the CO2 used in carbonization. [Forbes]
  • Remote tribes in Alaska are asking for emergency permits to hunt deer and moose out of season, to ensure tribe members can stay fed. [Vice]
  • World Central Kitchen has served 2 million meals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. [Instagram]
  • Surely there was a better name Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis could have come up with for their charity wine than literally “Quarantine”: