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Who Are JBS & Smithfield, Two Of The World's Largest Meat Producers?

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
A Smithfield Foods pork plant in Milan, Missouri.

On this edition of Your Call, we're kicking off a three day series about the world’s largest animal processing corporations. We begin by learning more about JBS, the world’s largest meat company, and Smithfield, the country’s largest pork producer.

Both companies have had major COVID outbreaks and several workers have died. What do we need to know about the history of the companies, their profits, lobbying, and government subsidies?


Ted Genoways, award winning journalist, contributing writer at Mother Jones and The New Republic, and author of This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm

Esther Honig, freelance journalist

Matt Zampa, senior reporter at Sentient Media

Lynn Waltz, veteran journalist, assistant professor of journalism at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism, and author of Hog Wild: The Battle for Workers’ Rights at the World’s Largest Slaughterhouse
Web Resources:

Food & Environment Reporting Network, Leah Douglas: Mapping COVID-19 outbreaks in the food system

The Daily Beast, Michael Daly: JBS Meat Plant Clinic Told Eighth COVID-19 Victim She Had a ‘Normal Cold,’ Daughter Says

Mother Jones, Ted Genoways and Esther Honig: “The Workers Are Being Sacrificed”: As Cases Mounted, Meatpacker JBS Kept People on Crowded Factory Floors

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism: JBS: The Brazilian butchers who took over the world

Sentient Media: Smithfield Foods: How Many Pigs Does Smithfield Slaughter Per Day?