Mapping Covid-19 outbreaks in the food system

[This story was updated on May 29]

According to data collected by FERN, as of May 29 at 12pm ET, at least 245 meatpacking and food processing plants and 22 farms and production facilities have confirmed cases of Covid-19, and at least two meatpacking plants and four food processing plants are currently closed. At least 22,382 workers (20,033 meatpacking workers, 1,329 food processing workers, and 1,020 farmworkers) have tested positive for Covid-19 and at least 76 workers (70 meatpacking workers and 6 food processing workers) have died. 

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A beef plant in Colorado. A pork plant in Iowa. A hamburger plant in Pennsylvania. Since mid-March, outbreaks of Covid-19 have appeared in meatpacking plants across the country, infecting thousands of workers. The coronavirus has also reached workers in processed food facilities, which make frozen dinners, baked goods, and dairy products. And slowly, outbreaks are arriving at farms and ranches.

The map below shows the location of meat processing plants, food processing plants, and farms or ranches where cases of Covid-19 and/or deaths from the disease have been reported. Hover over the icons for details on the plants. In some locations, you’ll need to zoom in to see all of the affected plants.

According to data collected by FERN, as of May 29 at 12pm ET, at least 245 meatpacking and food processing plants and 22 farms and production facilities have confirmed cases of Covid-19, and at least two meatpacking plants and four food processing plants are currently closed. At least 22,382 workers (20,033 meatpacking workers, 1,329 food processing workers, and 1,020 farmworkers) have tested positive for Covid-19 and at least 76 workers (70 meatpacking workers and 6 food processing workers) have died. 

A note on methodology

The data represented on this map is almost all collected from local news reports, with some additional information gathered from state health authorities and, on occasion, from companies with active outbreaks. The map only plots facilities where specific figures for worker cases and deaths are available. In the case of plants where non-precise figures are available (e.g., “405 workers were tested and approximately 50% of the tests were positive”), the caseload is rounded down in the interest of accuracy. The map data is updated every weekday.

The map data accounts for the May 1 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that tallied meatpacking plant outbreaks in 19 states as of April 27. In instances where local reports reflected higher numbers than the CDC, we have used the local reports. The cumulative numbers also account for state-reported totals of cases and deaths at meatpacking and food processing facilities, and of the number of plants with outbreaks. If you have questions about methodology, or if you know of an outbreak that is not reflected on the map, contact Leah Douglas (leah@thefern.org).

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