US pork processor Indiana Packers Corp. (IPC) has temporarily suspended operations at its plant in Delphi, Indiana, after 15 workers tested positive for Covid-19.

The company, which owns the Indiana Kitchen brand, said the decision was made in light of the increasing number of positive tests of Covid-19 in neighbouring communities and reports that Indiana is closing in on the expected peak of infections.

IPC said the winding down will be conducted in phases over the coming days and the closure is expected to last no longer than two weeks.

Russ Yearwood, IPC’s CEO, said: “Given the uncertainty so inherent with this pandemic, we are committed to be as proactive as we possibly can so as to best ensure the health and safety of our team members. This short pause is part of the ongoing effort.”

IPC said that in recent months it has implemented a number of recommended changes, including measures to maximise physical distancing, enhanced daily cleaning and sanitisation, and employee screenings/temperature checks at the start of each work shift. 

It said that during the closure it plans to “engage resources with expertise in infectious diseases, conduct further plant-wide sanitisation and continue implementation of the latest in CDC guidance and industry best practices”.

On Friday, US pork-processing major Smithfield Foods announced it was to shut another plant this week due to the Covid-19 pandemic.