Smithfield, OSHA reach agreement on sharing information

Courtesy photo

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — Smithfield Foods and federal workplace safety investigators have reached an agreement over sharing information on a coronavirus outbreak at Smithfield’s pork processing plant in South Dakota.

As part of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s investigation into an outbreak, which resulted in over 850 COVID-19 infections among workers at a Sioux Falls pork processing plant, the federal government in June had subpoenaed South Dakota’s Department of Health for test results, photos of the plant and correspondence with Smithfield.

But the company asked a federal judge to quash the subpoena, arguing that it shared information with the state health officials under the agreement that it would be protected.

Smithfield argued the subpoena would “chill critical collaborations” between public health agencies and businesses that have been deemed essential.

According to court documents filed this week asking a federal judge in South Dakota to dismiss the matter, the federal government and Smithfield have now reached an agreement. It was not clear what the agreement entailed.

Smithfield and OSHA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Smithfield closed the plant for several weeks in April after state officials requested a temporary closure.

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