15 Apr 2021

Cargill chicken processing plant in London, Canada closes due to COVID-19 outbreak



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AviNews International Team

Diamond V

The Cargill chicken processing plant located in London, Canada will be closed at least two weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak that has affected more than 10% of production workers.

Tim Deelestra, spokesperson for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, said that at least 82 of the 700 production workers in this chicken processing plant have tested positive for COVID-19. According to the Middlesex- London Health Unit, the outbreak and dramatic climb of cases was observed one week ago when 9 cases were reported.

 

“We support this decision by the company,” he said Tuesday. “We just want to make sure people are healthy and safe.”

The company has confirmed that workers will receive a weekly 36 hours pay during the shutdown. Additionally, they affirmed the measure is taken out of an abundance of caution to avoid the spread of the disease and that testing is now available for all employees.

 

“This was a difficult decision for our team who are operating an essential service and are committed to delivering food for families across Canada and ensuring the resilience of our supply chain. But ultimately, our employee’s safety and well-being come first. They are everyday heroes on the front lines of our food system.” said Derek Hill, general manager for Cargill’s London, Ontario, protein facility.

The Cargill processing plant processes about 100,000 chickens a day and is the main supplier of chicken for McDonald’s. Recently, this plant was upgraded with an investment of $22 million.

“Food processors like Cargill have had massive expenditures, they have adhered to protocol. No one has written a guide on how to handle this,” said the chief executive of food and beverage Ontario.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Cargill has faced many shutdowns in different locations. Last year, 945 workers tested positive for the virus in the High River, Alta beef processing facility where three workers died. Also, a meat processing plant in Ontario had to close almost 2 weeks due to an outbreak that involved 143 people.

Source: The London Free Press



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