North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said he fully supports President Trump's decision to declare meat processing facilities essential and mandate them to stay operational.
Speaking to reporters on a Wednesday afternoon call, Troxler said these facilities are critical to the infrastructure of the state's food supply.
"I really do appreciate the decision to move forward with this executive order. I do believe it will help stabilize the supply of protein that's coming out of these plants and quite frankly it's a path forward," he said.
“Recently we’ve seen plant closures in other states as workers have become sick,” says Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler, “in N.C., we have not had a plant closure, but shutting down or slowing production at these plants creates a backlog all the way back to the farm.” #NCAgriculture pic.twitter.com/D6WUnh6Bgd
— NCDA&CS (@NCAgriculture) April 29, 2020
Troxler emphasized that there's not a food shortage and that the coronavirus is not a food-borne pathogen, so the food supply should be safe.
He said he's working with processing companies to implement safety measures for workers. However community activists say workers need more protection. Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been identified inside several processing plants in North Carolina.