Tyson Foods Inc. is implementing several measures to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations and help stabilize the U.S. food supply.
The Springdale, Arkansas-based meat processor said it is checking the temperature of workers at all of its locations before they enter the facilities. While the company is mostly using temporal thermometers, it has started to use walk-through infrared body temperature scanners at a few locations.
In addition, Tyson Foods has boosted deep cleaning and sanitizing of its facilities, especially in employee breakrooms, locker rooms and other areas, to protect its workers. However, the company noted that the additional cleaning sometimes requires suspending production for at least one day.
Due to the planned implementation of additional worker safety precautions and worker absenteeism, the company’s meat and poultry plants are experiencing varying levels of impact to production.
This week, the company suspended operations at its pork plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, after more than two dozen workers at the facility tested positive for the coronavirus.
To minimize its impact on overall production, Tyson Foods has diverted the livestock supply originally scheduled for delivery to Columbus Junction to its other pork plants in the region.
The company said it is working with federal agencies to secure an adequate supply of protective face coverings and other personal protective equipment for its production workers. The company has implemented interim protocols for temporary protective coverings, while observing food safety.
Tyson Foods is also looking to implement additional ways to promote more social distancing in its plants. This includes erecting dividers between workstations and increasing the space between workers on the production floor, which can involve slowing production lines.
Further, the company is creating more room in non-production areas and has set up tents at some locations to create outdoor break rooms.
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