Operations at a Maple Leafs Foods plant in Brampton, Ontario have been suspended after several employees tested positive for COVID-19.
The company’s President and CEO Michael McCain issued a statement on Wednesday discussing the company’s response.
“As a major food company in an essential industry, Maple Leaf Foods is doing everything possible to protect the health of our 13,000 team members while producing the food our customers in North America and Asia need now more than ever,” he said.
As of April 8, the Brampton Poultry plant’s operations are on hold while an investigation into three confirmed cases of coronavirus — all of whom work at that facility — is conducted.
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“While we complete the investigation, we are deep cleaning the plant including common areas and offices. Our goal is to complete the investigation and the deep cleaning as quickly as reasonably possible,” McCain said.
“We will not begin operating again until we are confident that it is safe to return to work.”
An additional case of coronavirus has been confirmed in an employee who works at the Heritage plant in Hamilton, Ontario.
McCain says that the affected team member was not present at the plant for two weeks before the diagnosis; a thorough sanitation has been completed and that plant is fully operating.
Maple Leaf Foods has taken steps throughout its network to ensure food safety and protect the health of employees, including daily sanitization and use of Personal Protective Equipment.
Additional steps that the company is now taking include:
- Increased, frequent sanitation of all common areas like break rooms, washrooms, locker rooms, and cafeterias
- Careful social distancing through increased spacing on production lines where possible
- Staggered breaks and shifts to prevent groups from forming
- Conversion of offices to break rooms and the use of trailers to decrease the density of our people during breaks
- Phasing in of temperature screening of all front-line employees as equipment arrives.
Government experts in Canada and in the US have said the coronavirus is not a foodborne illness.
There is currently no evidence that food is a likely route of transmission for the virus.