Coronavirus cases confirmed at Pilgrim’s Pride Cornwall factory

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Pilgrim's Pride hit with small number of cases
Pilgrim's Pride hit with small number of cases

Related tags: coronavirus, COVID-19

A small number of coronavirus cases have been confirmed at Pilgrim’s Pride factory in Pool, Cornwall.

The cases were discovered as part of the enhanced contact tracing service put in place by Cornwall Council’s public health team.

The company said it was working with Public Health England (PHE) South West and Cornwall Council to arrange swab testing for a sample group in one particular area of production before deciding upon the need for any further screening. 

In October 2019, Pilgrim’s Pride completed the acquisition of Tulip​, the UK meat processor. ​As part of the integration ​Tulip changed its name to Pilgrim’s Pride on 31 August 2020.  

In February, Tulip revealed it was awarded with the highest benchmark rating​ for its animal welfare standards. 

Pandemic

Pilgrim’s Pride is the latest name to be hit by the pandemic. 

The Food Standards Agency recently revealed that it was monitoring 40 outbreak​s of coronavirus at food plants in England.

While earlier this month Covid-10 hit the Aunty Bessie’s factory​ in Hull and 30 cases were confirmed at Scottish abattoir Millers of Speyside.

2 Sisters Food Group suspended production at its chicken plant in Llangefni, Wales, following multiple cases of COVID-19 there.

Fresh prepared food provider Bakkavor and biscuit manufacturer Pladis also had COVID-19 cases at their manufacturing sites​.

Pilgrim’s Pride said that safety is a priority and it has been following government guidelines for food processing sites and updated them as and when amendments have been made. 

Additional measures

A spokesperson from Pilgrim’s Pride said: “Furthermore, we have implemented additional measures where they bring benefit including the installation of thermal cameras. We audit compliance of all our Covid-19 controls daily to drive up standards.

“As leading food processing operations, all our sites follow strict hygiene controls including barrier controls and intense daily cleaning regimes.”

The food manufacturer also revealed that the Health and Safety Executive carried out an inspection of the site in Pool last week and fed back that it was satisfied with measures implemented on site.  

Rachel Wigglesworth, Cornwall Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “We are working with the factory owners, PHE SW and our NHS partners to provide public health advice and help stop the spread of the virus. Employees who need to isolate have already been excluded from work and given support to isolate.

“The business is conscientious in its approach to Covid-19 controls. We have been discussing their ongoing measures to ensure it is safe for staff to attend work as normal. However, if anyone does develop symptoms, which include a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss or change to their sense of taste or smell, they should self-isolate straight away.” 

Redruth site reports 170 cases 

Meanwhile, as of September 30, 170 members of staff at the Pilgrims Pride processing plant in Redruth, Cornwall testing positive for COVID-19, after an alert through the National Health Service's (NHS's) test and trace service led to the discovery of the outbreak at the site. 

About 500 employees at the factory have now been tested, with a vast majority of the cases who tested positive not displaying symptoms. 

A spokesman for the manufacturer said: “These are the first positive cases we have experienced at our site in Redruth since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK and appear to coincide with the outbreaks seen more widely around the county.

“To put this into context, we have seen significantly more cases of COVID-19 in Cornwall over the past 14 days than we have experienced within our business of 6,000 employees located in 13 sites across the UK – including Manchester, West Midlands and Leicestershire – since the onset of this pandemic.”

Related topics: COVID-19

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