The outbreak led to updated federal safety guidelines for plant workers and even plant closures. Late in April, President Donald Trump ordered meat processing plants to stay open by classifying them as critical infrastructure.
Last year, the United States produced 105 billion pounds of meat. That's the equivalent of 320 pounds of poultry, pork, and beef for every US resident. Between cattle, pork, and poultry, there was $102 billion worth of American meat sold.
The United States is the largest cattle producer in the world, with $48.2 billion worth produced in 2019. With $31.8 billion in chicken and $3.8 billion in turkey produced in 2019, the US is also the largest poultry producer in the world. It's the third largest pork producer in the world, with $18.8 billion worth in 2019. About 11.7% of the beef (worth $7.7 billion) produced in the US in 2018 was exported. Meat processing plants are key components of the overall meat production industry, and the industry plays a major role in the country’s food supply.