On the eve of the L.A. Dodgers’ opening day, Chef Wes Avila of the struggling Guerilla Tacos restaurant downtown has partnered with Farmer John to create hot dog recipes meant to reflect the cultures and flavors of Southern California, and will be serving the dogs out of the Farmer John food truck today at Kindred Hospital.
Avila’s concepts include an Asian twist on the L.A. Street Hot Dog, featuring traditional ingredients with shishito peppers, furikake and Kewpie mayonnaise as well as a Mexican-Style Weenie Con Huevo Burrito, with eggs, white onion, chives, tomato and jalapeno peppers.
The meat packing plant in the industrial city of Vernon, which produces the iconic Dodger Dog, recently came under fire from United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 and animal rights activists for not shutting the facility down when 153 workers tested positive for the coronavirus https://www.laweekly.com/local-union-calls-for-farmer-john-facility-closure-after-153-workers-test-positive-for-covid-19/
Since the outbreak, Smithfield Foods, which owns the Farmer John facility, tells L.A. Weekly it has beefed up the plant’s security measures including hiring private healthcare providers for every one of their processing facilities to provide free, on-demand COVID-19 testing to all employees and expanded employee health benefits by removing all barriers in their health plan to accessing medical care including eliminating co-pays for COVID-19 related testing and treatment. They have also adopted a series of stringent and detailed processes, protocols and protective measures that follow, CDC and OSHA guidance for Meat and Poultry Processing Workers and Employers Smithfield also says they have spent tens of millions of dollars on personal protective equipment (PPE) to include millions of masks and face shields to outfit every single team member, and tens of thousands of sanitizer stations.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 50 new deaths and 2,741 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Of the new cases reported by Public Health today (excluding Long Beach and Pasadena), 57% occurred in people under the age of 41 years old. Health officials are turning their attention to what they say are major drivers of the spread of the virus, like meat packing plants and garment factories, carefully monitoring those facilities for guideline compliance.
“It’s anyone’s guess why Wes Avila would tie himself to an ugly, opportunistic corporation that refused to shut down after 153 of its workers tested positive for COVID-19,” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman told L.A. Weekly in an email. “ PETA is urging people to see this stunt for what it is: a publicity grab by a company that should instead reinvent itself as a producer of 100% healthy and humane vegan meats, protecting animals and its workers.”
Avila’s managing partner Brittney Valles recently chronicled the restaurant’s troubles in an essay https://www.eater.com/2020/7/21/21331745/guerrilla-tacos-la-restaurant-coronavirus-california-reopening-shutdown-covid-19