Tyson Foods Inc. has issued the following statement from CEO Noel White about the company's efforts to address the COVID-19 situation in the United States, as well as the impact of the virus 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.
"We've been taking the temperature of workers at all of our locations before they enter company facilities. We're mostly using temporal thermometers but at a few locations we're beginning to implement infrared temperature scanners. In addition, we've stepped up deep cleaning and sanitizing of our facilities, especially in employee breakrooms, locker rooms and other areas, to protect our team members. This additional cleaning sometimes requires suspending at least one day of production.
"We're also coordinating with federal agencies to emphasize the need for personal protective equipment to support our team members as we remain open. We're working to secure an adequate supply of protective face coverings for production workers and have implemented interim protocols for temporary protective coverings, while observing food safety.
"We continue to explore and implement additional ways to promote more social distancing in our plants. This includes erecting dividers between workstations or increasing the space between workers on the production floor, which can involve slowing production lines. We're also creating more room in non-production areas. For example, at some locations, we've set up tents to create outdoor break rooms.
"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. For example, out of an abundance of caution, we have suspended operations at our Columbus Junction, Iowa, pork plant this week due to more than two dozen cases of COVID-19 involving team members at the facility. In an effort to minimize the impact on our overall production, we're diverting the livestock supply originally scheduled for delivery to Columbus Junction to some of our 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."