WILLMAR, Minn. — Officials at Jennie-O Turkey Store in Willmar say they are optimistic extra efforts they are implementing to protect employees from the coronavirus could prevent the type of outbreak that has temporarily shut down a large pork processing facility in South Dakota.
Starting next week, employees at the Jennie-O processing plants will have their temperatures taken when reporting to work. Fever is one of the most common symptoms of the COVID-19 respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.
365体育投注That new procedure comes on top of a long list of additional safety measures that Jennie-O, which is owned by Hormel Foods, has initiated since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, said Steve Lykken, president of Jennie-O.
365体育投注The company provides face masks and other personal protective equipment and is accomplishing social distancing by staggering start times and break times and using areas outside the normal cafeteria spaces for breaks, he said.
Besides regular routines to sanitize food production areas, which Lykken said “were always and continue to be significant,” enhanced sanitization procedures are taking place in offices, break rooms, locker rooms and restrooms — by increasing the number of available alcohol-based hand sanitizers along with other measures, including ongoing education.
“Team members are performing routine sanitization of all high-touch surfaces and are conducting additional cleaning of these areas on a weekly basis during nonproduction hours,” Lykken said.
365体育投注Jennie-O, which has about 1,000 employees in Willmar, has nurses on staff but employees are encouraged to stay home if they don’t feel well.
365体育投注“If someone has symptoms, they are told to stay home,” Lykken said.
365体育投注 “They receive 100% of their pay if they stay home. This is industry leading and the right thing to do for our team members,” he said.
While a plan is in place in case an outbreak would force the plant has to be closed, Lykken said it’s hoped that will not be necessary.
“We remain hopeful that we will not have to pause our plant operations,” he said. “But if we do, we have a plan in place to ensure that our operational excellence and animal welfare and stewardship are maintained to our levels of expectation.”