Noel White, CEO of Tyson Foods, provided an update about the company’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 at facilities and the impact the pandemic may have on operations.
“We’re working hard to protect our team members during this ever-changing situation, while also ensuring we continue fulfilling our critical role of helping feed people across the country,” said White.
Every person that enters the company facilities will have their temperature taken. Although most locations are using temporal thermometers, Tyson Foods has set up walk-through infrared body temperature scanners at three processing sites.
According to a CNBC report, “the scanners allow for mass screening and are faster and more accurate than handheld devices.” The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved infrared body temperature scanners to detect fevers as a symptom of COVID-19. However, it is exploring new guidance in response to the pandemic. Furthermore, similar fever-detecting devices have been used in airports in Asia to identify sick travelers since the SARS outbreak in 2003.
Tyson Foods is also committed to deep cleaning and sanitizing all facilities to protect team members. The company is working on securing an adequate supply of protective face coverings for production workers and have implemented interim protocols for temporary protective coverings, while observing food safety.
Dividers have been installed and workers have been spaced out more on the production floor in effort to promote social distancing at plants.
“Our meat and poultry plants are experiencing varying levels of production impact, due to the planned implementation of additional worker safety precautions and worker absenteeism,” White said. Operations at the pork plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa have been suspended due to more than two dozen cases of COVID-19 involving team members at the facility. Tyson Foods is diverting the livestock supply to other pork plants in the region.
“While these are challenging times, we remain committed to protecting our people while continuing to meet the needs of our customers and consumers across America,” White concluded in her statement.