The development follows confirmation from fresh prepared food provider Bakkavor and biscuit manufacturer Pladis of new COVID-19 cases at their manufacturing sites this week.
2 Sisters has confirmed four cases at its factory at Coupar Angus in Scotland, which employs 1,000 people. It has decided to temporarily suspend operations to prevent any spread of the virus. A community cluster of cases is being reported in the Perth and Kinross area, which is local to the factory.
2 Sisters has introduced a range of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 since late March. These include temperature checks on arrival at factories, perspex screening and face visors for all colleagues, staggered staff breaks and an increased smoking area.
There are also new shift patterns to reduce congestion and new entrance and exit routes. Hand washing is closely monitored and all hard surfaces, such as doors, handles and turn styles, are regularly disinfected.
2 Sisters Food Group suspended production at its chicken plant in Llangefni, Wales, following multiple cases of COVID-19 there.
Health officials revealed the outbreak was “contained” and said there was no evidence of community transmission.
A spokesman for the site at Coupar Angus said: “Following the confirmation on August 16 of four positive COVID-19 cases at our site in Coupar Angus, we have decided to temporarily suspend operations and pause production on August 17, which we believe is the responsible action to take.
“Our priority remains the safety and wellbeing of all colleagues, and we will be reviewing the situation closely in partnership with the relevant regional and national Scottish COVID-19 taskforces before we restart production. The facility had previously operated for six months without a single positive COVID-19 case recorded.”
Meanwhile, Fyffes Group has temporarily ceased normal operations at its site at Cross Point Business Park in Walsgrave, as 30 cases were confirmed among its workforce.
Fyffes has been working closely with public health officials at Coventry City Council, Public Health England (PHE) Midlands and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to manage an outbreak, after a small number of staff tested positive a week ago. As a precautionary measure, testing was arranged for the whole workforce of around 200 staff at the end of last week.
While most results have been negative, Fyffes has suspended normal operations at the site for 48 hours to allow a thorough deep clean of the entire workplace, and implementation of enhanced infection control measures. The site was scheduled to reopen for business on the morning of Wednesday 19 August 2020.
Liz Gaulton, director of Public Health at Coventry City Council, said: “Throughout this process the management at Fyffes has worked openly and cooperatively with us as we have sought the best way to contain and manage this difficult situation.
“After the increase in positive cases we have agreed a temporary cessation of normal operations is the best way forward to support the business and the food production industry, while also protecting the health and wellbeing of the workforce and the wider public health. Fyffes are implementing a range of additional measures, to enhance the controls they already have in place. “
A spokesperson for Fyffes, added: “The safety of all our workers is our number one priority, which is why we have and continue to work with public health officials to arrange testing for the entire workforce. We are temporarily ceasing normal operations for 48 hours to put in place enhanced infection control measures and repeat thorough cleaning of the entire premises. We are thankful for the continued support we have received for our staff members and our business.”
2 Sisters Food Group has launched a £1m welfare fund to help support staff suffering financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.