RANDERS, DENMARK – Danish Crown, the largest pork processor in Europe, announced on Aug. 8 that it would shut down a facility for at least one week following an increasing number of COVID-19 cases among workers.

The plant is in Ringsted, Denmark, southwest of Copenhagen. The pork producer said in a company statement that it found 22 additional COVID cases this weekend, which brings the total to 142 since Aug. 6. Around 850 people work at this facility that processes 62,000 pigs per week when running at full capacity. 

“We have always known that a shutdown could be necessary,” said Jais Valeur, chief executive officer of Danish Crown. “The development in infection numbers over the past week does not indicate an explosion in the spread of infection, but conversely, the intensive test program has not succeeded in containing the infection as hoped. That is why we are now taking the consequence and closing down the slaughterhouse.”

Danish Crown found its first cases in the facility in late July when at least 13 workers tested positive for the virus. 

Slaughtering stopped Aug. 10, but since cold rooms in the facility were already full, a group of workers will have to come to work to help empty the processed products out of cold storage. 

The company said it is working with health authorities in Denmark to contact all employees at the plant about the next steps for self-isolation and the testing program which will continue during the week of the shutdown.