US chicken giant Sanderson Farms has taken robust measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

They include prohibiting employees and members of their households from travelling for personal reasons outside the US, through major international airports, to certain locations in the US with severe Covid-19 [coronavirus] outbreaks, to non-work gatherings of 50 people or more and “other high-risk destinations”.

The Laurel, Mississippi-based company has also suspended all corporate travel, other than essential travel to company facilities.

Joe Sanderson, company chairman and CEO, said: “With so much uncertainty surrounding 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.

“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.”

Sanderson Farms said it has consulted with infectious disease experts to adopt precautions throughout the company. 

“While there are no known indications that Covid-19 is transferable through food, our safety team is following guidance from public health organisations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), to limit the spread of the disease,” said Sanderson. 

“We have also implemented a response plan to ensure that we can adjust our product mix and production volumes as needed to continue to fulfil customer orders for fresh chicken.”

Sanderson Farms said supervisors have been trained to identify signs of the Covid-19 illness in employees and any personnel who have symptoms of the disease will be placed on two weeks’ paid sick leave.

Members of the senior management team are working from home as a precaution. Additionally, any employee who is in a high-risk group for Covid-19 is being allowed to work from home.