An associate at Perdue Farms’ cook plant in Perry, Georgia, tested positive for COVID-19, the company announced on March 28.

The worker had not been to work for more than a week.

Upon receiving notification of the employee’s illness, Perdue Farms immediately enacted its pandemic response protocols, which follow strict guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including:

  • Notifying and coordinating response procedures with all pertinent parties (local health officials, onsite USDA inspector, Perdue human resources and wellness staff, coronavirus response leader, and the facility director of operations);
  • Interviewing the affected associate to determine movements and contact with others;
  • Checking recordings from internal cameras to see who the associate may have been in close contact with (within six feet and longer than 10 minutes);
  • Thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the entire facility beyond the full sanitation that all of the company’s facilities undergo every 24 hours, and with additional sanitization conducted in areas accessed by the affected associate during the prior 14 days. These procedures strictly follow the CDC guidelines for this process;
  • Notifying associates who were potentially exposed to the affected associate and providing them with guidance for conducting a risk assessment of their potential exposure using CDC guidelines.

The affected associate is in quarantine for 14 days while still receiving pay and no attendance penalty, and may return to work when approved to do so by a healthcare provider. 

The company is continuing the incremental preventative measures at all of its facilities that were implemented in early March to protect the health of associates, including increased sanitation and cleaning (above and beyond the full sanitization that all facilities receive every 24 hours), and extended the hours of many of the onsite Wellness Centers at facilities, which are available to all associates and their families free of charge. Additionally, the company is implementing temperature checking across all facilities and reminding associates to follow the CDC guidelines for proper hygiene.

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“Our greatest concern is for the health and safety of our Associates,” said Perdue Farms Chairman Jim Perdue. “We are committed to supporting them as they remain dedicated to their roles as essential personnel during this uncharted time.”

Per the CDC, COVID-19 is not known to be a food-borne pathogen and, “because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.” Perdue stated in a press release that it continues to regulate strict preventive safety and sanitation standards in all our facilities.

All Perdue products continue to be USDA inspected and made with the highest standards of safety and quality. 

View our continuing coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.