US meat giant Tyson Foods has told a court in Texas that it cannot be held liable for the death of a worker at one of its factories because it can’t be proved he contracted the virus while working there.
Food Navigator has reported that lawyers for Tyson Foods have filed a motion to dismiss the case.
Tyson Foods came to international prominence during the pandemic when it printed an advert in leading media platforms, including the New Yorker, warning that “the food chain is breaking” due to COVID-19.
The family of the employee Jose Angel Chavez, who had worked for the company for 20 years and died on April 17 from COVID-19, have argued that the company did not apply adequate social distancing or personal protective equipment.
As COVID-19 continues to infect thousands of meatpacking workers, it is stunning that USDA is further endangering these workers
The issue of liability is further complicated by the executive order President Donald Trump signed on April 28, which essentially ordered meat plants to remain open.
Tyson Foods is facing a number of similar cases from workers who contracted the virus.
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union in the US says there have been 65 worker deaths in meatpacking factories and 14,214 meatpacking workers infected or exposed to the virus.
The union is currently bringing their own lawsuit against the US Department of Agriculture, after a waiver was permitted to allow poultry plants to speed up production line speeds.
“As COVID-19 continues to infect thousands of meatpacking workers, it is stunning that USDA is further endangering these workers by allowing poultry companies to increase line speeds to dangerous new levels that increase the risk of injury and make social distancing next to impossible,” UFCW international president Marc Perrone said.