The number of vegetarians in Brazil doubled over a six-year period, which has given rise to a booming plant-based industry that is seeking to turn meatpacking plants obsolete.
Critics say the agency has applied scant oversight and negligible penalties despite virus outbreaks at many plants in the spring.
Employees of a JBS meat-processing plant in Greeley, Colo., got sick or died, but their families have so far been denied compensation.
Businesses have little to fear from the government’s workplace safety office.
Emails show local officials received conflicting signals from state leaders and meatpacking companies about how much information to release about outbreaks in plants.
In a meatpacking plant, changes were made too late.
The executive action signals that decisions around whether to close or reopen plants should be driven by the federal government, not local authorities.
A relatively small number of plants process much of the beef and pork in the United States, and some of them have closed because workers are getting sick.
Some employees are coming in sick, and one woman died after being ordered back to work. “Our work conditions are out of control,” a longtime Tyson employee said.