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Sanderson Farms announces new safety operations to prevent possible spread of COVID-19

According to Sanderson Farms, there are no reports of any personnel or contract growers testing positive for COVID-19.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

TYLER, Texas — Sanderson Farms, Inc. is working to put measures in place to ensure the safety of both employees and consumers while continuing business operations.

According to Sanderson Farms, there are no reports of any personnel or contract growers testing positive for COVID-19.

“Currently, all 12 of the Company’s poultry processing complexes and our prepared chicken plant, as well as our corporate headquarters, are operating normally," said Chairman and CEO Joe F. Sanderson. "The Company has not experienced any supply chain disruptions, and our logistics team continues to meet delivery needs and schedules.”

While the company is continuing to produce its poultry products, there are a number of precautions the company is putting into place.

“We have also implemented a response plan to ensure that we can adjust our product mix and production volumes as needed to continue to fulfill customer orders for fresh chicken.  Last Saturday, March 14, 2020, the Company operated one shift at each of its five plants that process chicken for retail grocery store customers, and it expects to operate two shifts at each of those plants next Saturday, March 21, 2020," Chairman Sanders said. "Among other modifications, the Company can convert its Hammond and Hazlehurst plants to process more birds for retail customers, should the need arise.”

The company is also putting the following operations into practice:

  • "Employees and members of their households are prohibited from traveling for personal reasons outside the United States, through major international airports, to certain locations in the United States with severe COVID-19 outbreaks, to non-work gatherings of 50 people or more, and other high-risk destinations. If those persons must travel to or through these areas, the Company will require them to remain away from work for a minimum of two weeks. Additionally, if any of the Company’s contractors travel to or through these areas, those persons will not be allowed on the Company’s premises for a minimum of two weeks."
  • "All corporate travel, including on Company and commercial aircraft, has been suspended, other than essential travel to Company facilities."
  • "Hand sanitizing stations appropriate for use in food processing facilities have been installed at each Company location, and the Company is reinforcing the importance of personal hygiene and social distancing practices that can prevent the spread of the disease."
  • "Company nurses have been trained on CDC protocols for novel coronavirus and have masks and other equipment necessary for contact with symptomatic employees."
  • "Supervisors have been trained to identify signs of the COVID-19 illness in employees."
  • "The Company has increased the frequency and scope of cleaning of common areas like breakrooms and restrooms."
  • "Any personnel who have symptoms of COVID-19 will be placed on two week’s paid sick leave."
  • "Members of the senior management team are working from home as a precaution. Additionally, any employee who is in a high-risk group for COVID-19 is being allowed to work from home."