LAUREL, MISS. - Sanderson Farms, Inc. announced precautions the company is taking in response to coronavirus (COVID-19) to continue to supply retailers with safe and high-quality poultry.
“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,” said Joe F. Sanderson, chairman and chief executive officer of Sanderson Farms.
Company employees are prohibited from traveling for personal reasons outside the US, through major international airports, to certain locations within the US with severe COVID-19 outbreaks and non-work gatherings of more than 50 people. If associates do any of those things, they will be required to remain away from work for two weeks. The same goes for Sanderson Farms’ contractors.
Corporate travel has been suspended, hand sanitizing stations have been installed at each company location, and Sanderson Farms is reinforcing the importance of personal hygiene and encouraging social distancing.
The poultry supplier has company nurses that have been trained on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) protocol for COVID-19. Supervisors have also been trained to notice signs of the virus in employees.
Any Sanderson Farms personnel who have symptoms of COVID-19 will receive two week’s paid sick leave, and members of the senior management team are working from home as a precaution. Any employee who is at high-risk for COVDI-19 is also allowed to work from home.
At this time, the company says it has received no reports of any of its personnel or contractors having tested positive for the virus. If any company personnel or contractors test positive in the future Sanderson Farms will cooperate local, state and federal authorities to implement the appropriate quarantines.
“We have also implemented a response plan to ensure that we can adjust our product mix and production volumes as needed to continue to fulfill customer orders for fresh chicken,” Sanderson said.
“Our first priority is the health and wellbeing 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.”