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Hartzler Pushes for Liability Protection to Protect Meat Supply

May 13, 2020
Press Release

HARRISONVILLE, MO – Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi, Republican Leader McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Schumer urging them to include in the next round of coronavirus legislation expanded liability coverage for meat processing facilities mandated to reopen after President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to protect America’s food supply and consumers’ access to American-grown meat.
Due to COVID-19 impacts, many meatpacking plants have been forced to cease operations or run at decreased capacity throughout the country. These disruptions are causing consumers to see less beef, pork, and poultry products in grocery stores while producers are struggling to find a market for their livestock.
Hartzler has been a leader in addressing both worker protections and ensuring that meatpackers have all the tools necessary to bolster their working capacity in the face of diminished production and massive supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-10 pandemic. Specifically, Hartzler calls on congressional leadership to include expanded liability coverage for meatpackers to be included in the next round legislation responding to the coronavirus.
“If our producers and processors are going to successfully weather the storm of the coronavirus pandemic, then meat processing facilities must have the ability to fulfill the federal government’s reopening mandate without fear of frivolous litigation that will cripple their operations. The agriculture industry has been devastated by this pandemic across all aspects of the supply chain. These plant closures mean many producers have had to euthanize their livestock, representing massive financial loss and long-term impacts on our nation’s food supply. Right now, these supply chain disruptions are reflected in our supermarkets and in corner stores around the country with diminished availability for purchase limits on pork, beef, and poultry,” Hartzler said.
“In the coming days, I will be introducing legislation to ensure our meatpackers can move forward in a safe, effective, and sustainable manner. Doing so is incredibly important for the stability and long-term viability of our farmers and ranchers, to protect the hardworking folks in my district who rely on their jobs in meatpacking plants for their paycheck, and ensure that every American has undisrupted access to American-grown meat,” Hartzler concluded.
A final copy of the letter sent to congressional leadership can be found here.