Foster Farms in California, USA, announced August 29 that it would temporarily shut down the main building of its Livingston, California poultry complex after almost 400 workers contracted COVID-19. The closure follows an order from the Merced County Department of Public Health mandating that the main building close for at least six days.
Employees who work in the building will have to test negative twice in seven days in order to return to work, and the building will undergo two rounds of deep cleaning. “If proper deep cleaning and employee testing cannot be achieved by then, the closure could be extended,” said the MCDPH order.
In a statement, Foster Farms said the illnesses spread despite having “promptly implemented a comprehensive set of employee protective measures that strictly adhere to CDC guidance.” These include increasing sanitation and personal hygiene checks, increased handwashing and sanitizer stations, monitoring employees for fever and other symptoms of COVID-19, mandatory cloth masks, and partitions in work and break areas of the plant.
The closure will begin the evening of Sept. 1 to ensure safe removal of poultry at the plant and prepare for the deep cleaning. The remaining operations at the complex where there has not been an outbreak will remain open while observing prevention practices, including social distancing, screening of employees, providing personal protective equipment and expanded employee break rooms. The Livingston Poultry Complex, which was first identified as an outbreak site June 29, is one of many meat processing operations nationwide plagued by outbreaks of the novel coronavirus, including pork processing plants owned by Smithfield Foods, Inc., Tyson Foods, and JBS USA.
Source: Industry Week