March 24, 2020
Sanderson Farms confirmed that an employee at the Company's McComb, Mississippi, processing plant has tested positive for COVID-19.
This individual's work area was contained to one small processing table. "Upon learning of this case, we took a number of immediate steps to protect the health and safety of our employees," said Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Sanderson Farms, Inc. "Following CDC and local health department guidelines, and procedures developed in consultation with an infectious disease physician, we identified six individuals in the work area who could be at risk, and those employees, along with the infected employee, have been sent home to self-quarantine with pay. We also conducted a thorough cleaning of the affected work area as well as all of our other facilities over the weekend. We notified all other personnel at the McComb plant of the confirmed case and will continue to work in close partnership with the local health department in McComb and the Mississippi State Department of Health for guidance. We will follow these same procedures if other employees at any of our facilities test positive for the virus. All of our locations, including McComb, continue normal operations."
Sanderson Farms has implemented a site infection control plan at all its locations under which Company health professionals have been trained to identify employees with symptoms of COVID-19. Recognizing that very few of Sanderson Farms' employees can do their jobs remotely, the Company's processing and production sites are continuously evaluating staffing needs, as well as on-site health and safety measures to manage through this pandemic.
Sanderson added, "Like health care and pharmaceutical providers, the food supply chain is critical to ensure the wellbeing of residents of the United States and other countries, and Federal government officials have encouraged food companies to continue operating. There are no known indications that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food. Our first and most important priority is the health and wellbeing of our employees, and we continue to take precautionary measures to mitigate the spread of illness. We are actively monitoring this evolving situation to ensure we are operating in the safest manner possible.
"During these challenging times, we are especially proud of the dedicated work of our employees, growers and partners, who support our ability to produce and deliver safe, quality chicken products to our customers and consumers. We are also grateful for all the healthcare professionals and first responders who are working tirelessly to protect the health of all of us. We express our sympathy to those who have been affected by COVID-19, including our employee, and we hope for their full recovery," Sanderson concluded.