Sanderson Farms responds to COVID-19

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Sanderson Farms responds to COVID-19

By Dan Ochwat - 03/17/2020

Just as retailers are reassuring consumers that there will be food in stores during the coronavirus pandemic, suppliers are delivering similar messages.

Sanderson Farms, a producer of private brand poultry and branded poultry products, released steps the company was taking in response to COVID-19.

“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 CEO of Sanderson Farms. “Currently, all 12 of the Company’s poultry processing complexes and our prepared chicken plant, as well as our corporate headquarters, are operating normally. The Company has not experienced any supply chain disruptions, and our logistics team continues to meet delivery needs and schedules.”

The company outlined changes in its operations, including: 

  • An internal travel ban to locations outside of the U.S. for personal reasons, no traveling through major international airports, and no non-work gatherings of 50 people or more. If an employee does break one of these measures, they are quarantined from work for two weeks. This applies to visitors of the company.
  • All corporate travel has been suspended outside essential travel to company facilities.
  • Hand sanitizing stations have been installed in food processing facilities and the company is reinforcing personal hygiene and social distancing practices.
  • Company nurses and supervisors have been trained on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols and to identify symptoms of the illness.
  • Increased frequency of cleaning common areas, breakrooms and restrooms.
  • If an employee gets the virus, they will be placed on two week’s paid sick leave.
  • Senior management and employees in high-risk groups are working from home.

Sanderson said there are no signs that COVID-19 is transferable through food but the company is following guidance from the CDC and World Health Organization. 

“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,” he said. “Last Saturday, March 14, 2020, the Company operated one shift at each of its five plants that process chicken for retail grocery store customers, and it expects to operate two shifts at each of those plants next Saturday, March 21, 2020. Among other modifications, the company can convert its Hammond and Hazlehurst plants to process more birds for retail customers, should the need arise.”