As meat plants stayed open to feed Americans, exports to China surged
By Michael Corkery and David Yaffe-Bellany
Smithfield Foods was the first company to warn in April that the coronavirus pandemic was pushing the United States “perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply.” Tyson Foods also sounded the alarm, saying that “millions of pounds of meat will disappear” from the nation’s supply chain as plants were being forced to close because of outbreaks.
That same month, Smithfield sent China 9,170 tons of pork, one of its highest monthly export totals to that market in the last three years. Tyson exported 1,289 tons of pork to China, the most since January 2017.
In all, a record amount of the pork produced in the United States — 129,000 tons — was exported to China in April.