Recent reports of temporary or indefinite closures of meat plants signals some risk to the abundance of food to which we’ve become accustomed. I don’t think we’re bordering on mass food insecurity, but we could see supply shortages and impacts on price, and let’s face it, morale. Here are three key areas food companies should focus on to mitigate risk of COVID-19 in their facilities.
Prevention is best, and so a rigorous employee screening process is essential. Use the standard techniques like forehead temperature checks and questionnaires about symptoms for both the employee and his or her cohabitants. Be courteous and collaborative. These employees are deemed “essential,” and they are under tremendous stress as their lives have been disrupted and yet they are required to report to work. Meanwhile, they likely have unemployed family members and children at home who would otherwise be at work and school. Make sure your policy includes paid sick leave. Over communicate to the workforce about company safety measures to protect their health and about their work hours, pay, and benefits.