Food and beverage manufacturers with offices and factories on the East Coast have taken precautions to protect staff and keep their businesses running as smoothly as possible as Hurricane Sandy kicks in.
Bosses at Mondelēz International have decided to close the North American region HQ in East Hanover, New Jersey and the confectionery R&D center in Whippany, NJ on Monday October 29th and Tuesday 30th.
Manufacturing facilities in Fair Lawn, NJ, Philadelphia, PA and Richmond, VA have also been closed as a precautionary measure, Laurie M. Guzzinati, regional director, corporate & government affairs, told FoodNavigator-USA on Monday afternoon.
Mondelēz International factories in NJ, PA and VA are closed
She added: “Facility managers have emergency preparedness plans for situations like this, and are responsible for making individual decisions for each facility to insure the safety of employees and business continuity in the impacted areas.
“These plans include proactively doing such things as stocking fuel for generators, trimming tree branches that could bring down power lines and gathering flashlights and batteries.
“As a precautionary measure, some facilities will close until the hurricane passes. After it has passed, key managers will evaluate the impact, if any, to their respective sites to ensure they are ready and safe to be reopened for business as usual.”
PepsiCo: Westchester NY offices are closed
A PepsiCo spokeswoman said the firm’s offices in Westchester NY are also closed.
She added: “We have a variety of facilities in the northeast. Those locations are taking steps to ensure we continue to meet the needs of our customers who are preparing for the storms."
Unilever: Our supply chain is following business continuity plans
Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA on Monday afternoon, Unilever USA media relations manager Jeff Graubard said: "With the worst of Hurricane Sandy still predicted to come in certain areas, our Englewood Cliffs, N.J., as well as our Trumbull, Conn., facilities are closed today and tomorrow. In addition, the following plants located in the storm’s path are closed today: Suffolk, Va.; Baltimore, Md., and Clinton, Conn. Additionally, Harrisburg, Penn., closed at 3pm.
"Our supply chain is following business continuity plans during the closures and we have encouraged employees at our office facilities to work from home."
Cargill: 'Currently, it seems as though the major impact will be to our customers'
Cargill director of communications Michael Martin said: "Currently, it seems as though the major impact will be to our customers, as they have already experienced a run on inventory by consumers stocking up on food.
"Regarding our eastern meat processing facilities, our turkey production complex in western Virginia is operating normally, although management there is expecting some snow in the surrounding area resulting from Hurricane Sandy, which could cause us to juggle some live turkey movements to our processing plant in Harrisonburg. We’ve also been repositioning trailers away from the northeast that we use to ship turkey products.
"We have a case ready facility in Hazleton, Pa., which will not run second shift today or first shift tomorrow (Tuesday). Also, management there has empty refrigerated trailers positioned for use if the powerfails at the plant and they need to move inventory into the trailers to maintain product integrity.
"Lastly, our beef processing plant at Wyalusing, Pa., operated this past Saturday to produce additional beef products in anticipation of customer needs over the next few days. At Wyalusing, the plant will operate fewer hours tomorrow and they will be monitoring the situation."
Bunge: Power outages
Bunge Oils marketing specialist Ben Carpenter told FoodNavigator-USA on Monday afternoon: "In Kearny, New Jersey, our plant has been shut down. The facility closed by 1pm so employees could get home before bridges and tunnels in New York and New Jersey closed.
"Also, employees in Bunge’s Washington, D.C. office and most employees in White Plains, New York are working from home today and we have been instructed to contact those employees by computer or cell phone.
"Also, we recently experienced a power outage at the Sandston, Virginia facility which is now closed and will stay down until Hurricane Sandy passes and utility crews can restore power."
Nestlé USA: Our offices and factories in Sandy’s path have been closed
Hannah Coan, VP, corporate and brand affairs at Nestlé USA said: "Our offices and factories in Sandy’s path have been closed and we’ve informed all employees to follow all government directions to evacuate or stay at home. Closed facilities include Nestlé Nespresso located in NYC, Nestlé Nutrition located in Florham Park, NJ and Nestlé Waters located in Stanford, CT.
"Businesses will be closed at least through Tuesday."
Dannon: Work from home!
Asked how the White Plains, New York HQ at Dannon Company had been affected, Michael J. Neuwirth, senior director of public relations, said: "We reminded our employees over the weekend and again today that safety is our top priority and we strongly encouraged our employees to work remotely, from home to limit any risk associated with travel leading up to and during the storm."
DSM's Parsippany, NJ offices are also closed.