“With so much uncertainty surrounding the novel coronavirus, and the changes we face in our daily lives, Sanderson Farms wants to reassure our customers, consumers and communities that we will continue to process and ship high-quality, safe and affordable poultry products,” Joe F. Sanderson, chairman and chief executive officer of Sanderson Farms, Inc. said in a statement.
These measures include:
- The installation of hand sanitation stations at each of the company’s food processing facilities.
- Training for supervisors and company nurses to recognize the signs of COVID-19 in employees. Any employee who has symptoms of COVID-19 will be placed on two week’s paid sick leave.
- An increase in the frequency and scope of cleaning of common areas such as breakrooms and restrooms.
- Employees are prohibited from traveling outside of the U.S., through major airports, to locations with severe COVID-19 outbreaks, to non-work gatherings for 50 people or more and other high-risk destinations. Anyone who does so will not be required to stay away from the company’s premises for a minimum of two weeks.
- All corporate travel has been suspended.
- Members of the senior management and any employee in a high-risk group for COVID-19 will be allowed to work from home as a precaution.
“Our first priority is the health and well-being of our employees and contract growers. We will remain in daily contact with federal, state and local authorities about this rapidly evolving situation and any additional steps we need to take to protect our employees, growers, customers and other stakeholders,” Sanderson added.
The company is also adjusting their product mix and production volumes at its five plants that process chicken for retail grocery store customers to meet the increased demand. Many supermarkets and other stores are running low on fresh meat and other supplies as consumers prepare for self-quarantine and social distancing measures.
“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. Among other modifications, the Company can convert its Hammond and Hazlehurst plants to process more birds for retail customers, should the need arise,” Sanderson said.
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