LAUREL, MISS. – Sanderson Farms Inc. announced precautions the company is taking in response to the 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 United States, through major international airports, to certain locations within the United States with severe COVID-19 outbreaks and non-work gatherings of more than 50 people. If associates engage in any of these activities, they are not allowed to return to company facilities for two weeks. The same policy applies to Sanderson Farms’ contractors.
Corporate travel has been suspended, hand sanitizing stations have been installed throughout 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 and Prevention (CDC) protocol for COVID-19. Supervisors have also been trained to recognize symptoms of the virus in employees.
Any Sanderson Farms employee who has symptoms of COVID-19 will receive two week’s paid sick leave. Members of the company’s senior management team are working from home as a precaution. Employees considered to be at high-risk for COVID-19 are also encouraged to work from home.
At this time, the company says it has received no reports of any of its personnel or contractors testing positive for the virus. If any company personnel or contractors test positive in the future, Sanderson Farms will work closely with local, state and federal health officials 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.