SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Tyson Foods Inc. has suspended manufacturing operations at its pork plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, after more than two dozen employees at the facility tested positive for COVID-19, the company said in a statement.
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Tyson has diverted its livestock supply scheduled for its Columbus Junction plant to other pork facilities in the region to minimize the effect on overall production, it said.
“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,” said Noel White, CEO of Tyson Foods. “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.”
Tyson has recently enacted numerous initiatives to combat the spread of COVID-19 in its facilities, including taking the temperatures of workers before they enter the buildings; increasing cleaning frequency in employee break rooms, locker rooms and other areas; and adding dividers between workstations on the production floor to promote social distancing.
“This additional cleaning sometimes requires suspending at least one day of production,” White said.
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Tyson is also coordinating with federal agencies to attain protective equipment, mainly face masks, for its employees. The company has implemented interim protocols for temporary protective coverings while observing food safety, White said.
Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods produces, markets and exports chicken, beef and pork. Its brands include Hillshire Farm, Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, Wright, Aidells and State Fair.