Coronavirus: Irish Dog Foods and Carroll Cuisine facilites to reopen on phased basis
Resumption of operations agreed with HSE and HSA officials earlier this week
A Covid-19 test centre outside Tullamore, Co Offaly. Photograph: Collins
Two of the four Midland meat processing plants hit by Covid-19 outbreaks are reopening on a phased basis.
Irish Dog Foods, which stopped production on July 25th after an outbreak affecting 53 staff, says the phased reopening of the plant in Naas, Co Kildare, has been agreed with the Health Service Executive and the Health and Safety Authority following a meeting on Tuesday.
The process of reopening has already started and full operations will resume in two weeks’ time, the company said.
Carroll Cuisine says its facility in Tullamore, Co Offaly, has been officially approved for reopening after all remaining staff had tested negative for the disease.
The company says “rigorous and proven” infection prevention measures will continue at the plant, and only staff who have tested negative will be allowed work there.
“The Health Service Executive and the Health and Safety Authority have reviewed and approved the extensive measures we have in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” the company said in a statement.
“They have confirmed to us that we have all necessary processes in place to allow for a reopening of our facility.”
The plant was the last of the four affected facilities to suspend production last Monday, on foot of nine positive tests among staff.
Last Sunday, the HSE tested 210 further staff all of whom tested negative. “Our remaining workforce aren’t based at our Tullamore facility, or haven’t attended the facility since people began working from home, resulting in no requirement for precautionary testing unless any symptoms are identified,” the company said.
Carroll says it has put in place a number of measures to protect against further infection, including segregating staff into separate “production pods”, staggering working hours and break times, creating additional canteen facilities and providing face masks and shields for staff.
“Our own specific situation has not escalated further, however this also means we are doubling and redoubling our efforts to stop any spread of the virus and staying constantly vigilant.
Given the nature of the Coronavirus, we are acutely aware that a positive result can occur at any time, as we have a large workforce, but we have shown that the strong and rigorous procedures we have in place do work to contain the spread, and this will allow us to continue working in a safe manner in the event of positive results being found.”