Tyson Fresh Meats Inc., the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., will resume limited operations at its pork plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, on Tuesday after being idle for two weeks due to COVID-19 concerns.
“Our first priority is protecting our team members while they fulfill their critical mission of feeding families across the country during this challenging time,” Tyson Foods president Dean Banks said. “We plan to increase production at Columbus Junction gradually, with the safety of our team members top of mind.”
Tyson Foods formed a coronavirus task force in January and has implemented numerous measures to protect workers. It was one of the first food companies to start taking workers' temperatures and is in the process of installing more than 150 infrared temperature scanners in its facilities.
The company started efforts to secure a supply of face coverings before the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommended them and now requires their use in all facilities.
In an effort to promote social distancing, many company facilities have installed workstation dividers and are providing more breakroom space.
The Columbus Junction pork plant, which produces fresh, boxed pork for shipment to foodservice and retail customers around the world, is an important market outlet to hundreds of independent pig farmers in the region.
Tyson Foods’ other meat and poultry plants continue operations, with some running at reduced levels of production either due to the planned implementation of additional worker safety precautions or worker absenteeism. The company has suspended production for a day at some locations for additional deep cleaning and sanitization.