Bloomberg Law reports JBS SA, the world's largest meat producer, is preparing to install robots in slaughterhouses to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among human employees working on the production line.
JBS SA CFO Guilherme Cavalcanti recently said the Brazilian processing company expects to expand automation at its facilities across the world.
Cavalcanti said the adoption of automation started before the pandemic as labor tightened at US plants due to a decline in immigration sparked by the Trump administration. He said labor shortages have developed in the US as the virus infects workers and shutters plants.
The fast-spreading virus has so far infected 4,900 workers (across the entire industry) and left 20 dead at 115 meatpacking plants across 19 states, according to CDC data from April 9-27.
In a JBS SA webinar on how it has handled its pandemic response, Cavalcanti said automation is more important than ever considering labor and health issues.