Kepak, the Ireland-based meat processor, has seen an outbreak of Covid-19 at two UK processing plants situated at opposite ends of the country.
Its Cornish facility in Bodmin has reported 106 positive cases among workers who are now self-isolating “following swift action by the factory owners”, according to a statement from Cornwall Council and Public Health England South West.
Media reports suggested 271 employees had been tested at the Bodmin site, with 80-85% of them asymptomatic.
Meanwhile, Kepak’s McIntosh Donald facility in Portlethen, Aberdeenshire, has been linked with 78 cases amid a wider community outbreak in the local government region of Grampian in which Aberdeenshire sits, according to the BBC, which cited the details from NHS Grampian.
An incident management team has now been set up to “monitor the situation involving the premises”, the BBC said.
In a statement provided to just-food, which did not confirm the number of cases at either of the plants, the meat processor said: “In response to the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the Cornwall area, we took the decision to begin proactively testing staff at our Bodmin site. We can confirm that a number of colleagues have tested positive for the virus and are now self-isolating. In each case, we have immediately conducted contact tracing and instructed potentially affected colleagues to self-isolate.”
The company, which owns the brands Rustlers, Big Al’s and Celtic Beef, amongst others, operates 13 factories across the UK and Ireland.
With respect to the Portlethen site, Kepak added: “We are continuing to liaise closely with the Scottish Government, Local Authority, Food Standards Scotland and the Health & Safety Executive who have inspected the site and are satisfied with the control measures in place. All Kepak sites have wide-ranging social distancing measures, stringent hygiene procedures and regular temperature checking in place. As ever, the health and well-being of our colleagues is our number one priority. Kepak McIntosh Donald remains safely operational.”