IRA BRILL, VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS
Fresno, Calif., Sept. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Foster Farms is committed to the health and welfare of its employees as it continues to respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has completed extensive COVID-19 testing of workers at its turkey processing facilities in Stanislaus County and at its chicken processing facilities in Fresno County. A total of 6,314 COVID-19 tests were administered to 3,405 workers, the vast majority being tested twice within a seven-day time span, marking the continuation of one of the most comprehensive and rapid testing efforts undertaken in California. Previously, Foster Farms had conducted similar testing at its Livingston chicken processing plant. All major California processing facilities have now been tested, and in all instances the prevalence of COVID-19 has been found to be less than 1%. The few employees who did test positive have been advised to self-isolate and will receive all appropriate medical benefits; they have our hopes for a quick recovery.
Stanislaus County Testing Results
Foster Farms maintains two turkey processing plants and associated facilities in the city of Turlock, located in Stanislaus County. Between Sept 3 and Sept 11, the company conducted two rounds of COVID-19 testing among workers. A total of 2,134 tests were completed with an overall COVID-19 prevalence level of less than 1%. The Turlock facilities employ a total of 1,199 workers. The Turlock Turkey Distribution Center, a support facility with 30 employees, recorded a single positive, and therefore a slightly higher rate of 3.33%. Concurrent with the progressive lifting of COVID-19 restrictions following Memorial Day and July 4 in California and Stanislaus County, the Turlock facilities experienced an increase in COVID-19 positive cases. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic Foster Farms Turlock facilities have reported 75 COVID-19 positive cases, with 43 individuals having already returned to work.
Fresno County Testing Results
Foster Farms maintains two chicken processing plants in Fresno County. Between September 1 and September 10, the company conducted two rounds of COVID-19 testing among plant workers. A total of 4,180 tests were completed with an overall COVID-19 prevalence level of less than 1%. Foster Farms processing plants employ a total 2,612 workers. Concurrent with the progressive lifting of COVID-19 restrictions following Memorial Day and July 4 in California and Fresno County, the Foster Farms facilities experienced an increase in positive cases. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Foster Farms Fresno facilities have reported 158 COVID-19 positive cases, with 75 individuals having already returned to work. Regrettably there have also been two deaths arising from complications associated with COVID-19, and we have expressed our sincerest condolences to loved ones and family members.
Foster Farms closely follows CDC guidance and began implementing mitigation efforts to protect workers in mid-March. These efforts now include daily wellness and temperature checks, partitioning of work and break area spaces, providing face mask and face shields to employees, along with ongoing communication to the workforce (a full list of mitigations is attached). Foster Farms will be conducting follow-up surveillance testing at its major processing facilities to further identify and reduce the risk of COVID-19 to workers.
COVID-19 represents a continuing challenge to all who live and work in California. This challenge is especially felt by companies like Foster Farms that share the special responsibility of keeping food on our supermarket shelves, while ensuring the health and welfare of employees. Foster Farms’ recent testing program, indicating a less than 1% prevalence level among workers, is substantive proof that we can, and will, do both.
CORONAVIRUS PROTECTIONS FOR EMPLOYEES
As an essential business, Foster Farms is committed to ensuring the continued health and wellbeing of our employees, suppliers and the communities we serve.
Foster Farms closely follows CDC COVID-19 guidance and has actively worked with federal, state and local public health authorities to effectively protect employees from the pandemic. Among these measures, Foster Farms:
Requires employees to wear face coverings and supplies face masks to employees.
Expanded the rigorous sanitation and personal hygiene measures that are the core of our Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Hazard and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans. As part of standard operating practices, plant sanitation is approved by the USDA daily.
Implemented temperature-based Wellness Checks at each company facility - monitoring employees for symptoms of COVID-19 - to reduce the possibility of an infected individual entering our plants and offices.
Installed dividers in break rooms and workspace areas where social distancing is otherwise not practical.
Added more break area space at our facilities to permit greater social distancing with more tables, chairs and tents for additional seating.
Added handwashing & sanitizer stations throughout our facilities, limited travel and implemented screening of all outside visitors.
Implemented continuous cleaning of breakrooms and other common areas.
We are actively providing our employees guidance should they experience symptoms of COVID-19 or come into contact with someone who has confirmed positive for COVID-19.
Any Foster Farms employee who is sick and showing symptoms of COVID-19 at home has been advised to self-isolate and seek medical attention.
Any Foster Farms employee who develops symptoms of COVID-19 while at work will be sent home and advised to self-isolate and seek medical attention.
In the case of a confirmed COVID-19 positive employee, Foster Farms will immediately advise those employees who have had close contact with the diagnosed individual.
Employees age 65 and older or those with underlying health conditions have been advised that they may be at higher risk for COVID-19 and should consult with a medical professional when considering whether to remain at work or at home.
CONTACT: Lorna Bush, Fineman PR for Foster Farms Foster Farms (415) 326-3199 firstname.lastname@example.org