Cargill shuts U.S. meat plant that serves grocery stores due to COVID-19

CHICAGO, April 7 (Reuters) - Cargill Inc closed a U.S. meat plant until further notice on Tuesday, the company said, disrupting the food supply for grocery stores that have seen demand surge as the country battles the new coronavirus.

The facility in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, produces meat for retail food customers, Cargill said in a statement. The products include ground beef, steaks, beef roasts and pork products that are sold at grocery stores across the country, according to the company's website.

"Our goal is to keep our 900 employees at this case-ready protein facility healthy and minimize risk within the Hazleton community, which has been greatly impacted by COVID-19," Cargill said.

"Our facility will re-open as soon as is it is safe to do so."

Privately held Cargill said it is working with customers, farmers and employees "to keep the food system running."

Other major meat companies including Tyson Foods Inc and JBS USA said on Monday they shut three facilities that produce pork and beef in Iowa and Pennsylvania. (Reporting by Tom Polansek; editing by Richard Pullin)

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