US poultry industry urges worker safety as priority

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

US poultry industry urges worker safety as priority

Related tags Us Poultry coronavirus Packaging equipment & materials Processing and packaging Innovation Processing equipment & plant design

The US National Chicken Council (NCC) has praised poultry processors for keeping staff safe during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“These are certainly trying and unprecedented times, and chicken processors are doing everything they can to 1) keep their employees safe and 2) work to keep chicken on the shelves - in that order,”​ said NCC president Mike Brown. “Our members are following all of the CDC and local health department guidelines, and many have consulted with infectious disease physicians to develop site plans.”

The NCC added that the government needs to support those working in the food industry to keep the shelves full.

“Since the US government has deemed food manufacturing as critical infrastructure, we treat very seriously our responsibly to keep workers safe while providing protein for families,”​ Brown added. “The essential critical industries working to care for, feed, and protect Americans are selflessly serving the nation by showing up to work during this time of crisis. While the work of our public health professionals, first responders, and public safety employees is unquestioned, we must also adequately recognize the service of food industry workers who protect our food security. NCC is urging Congress to support food industry workers in any aid package that might be considered when Congress returns in late April.”

Brown noted that companies have introduced additional measures to keep workers safe, including increased cleaning procedures and staff screening; encouraging staff to stay at home if unwell without risk of losing pay; social distancing and staggered breaks; only allowing essential personnel into plants; improved employee education and training and more flexible paid sick leave.

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