Like companies around the globe, Maple Leaf Foods (MLF) is experiencing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The food giant and leader in innovation as the first major food company in the world to be carbon neutral says they are taking every step they can to protect their people while continuing their essential operations.
To date, 59 team members across their network have tested positive for COVID-19, with seven of their plants having experienced at least one confirmed positive case. At each of the affected plants, MLF immediately activated their COVID-19 response plans, making sure that all health, safety and sanitation measures were implemented, including deep cleaning procedures and notification of any coworkers who had close contact with these individuals. Their approach, and the practices they have adopted, follow the guidance issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Maple Leaf Foods also collaborates with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and public health authorities to ensure they are making good decisions in each situation.
The majority of their positive tests have occurred at their poultry plant in Brampton, Ontario and their Viau plant in Montreal, Quebec. At both locations, MLF temporarily suspended operations for a few days in April while they completed their investigations, risk assessments and deep cleaning before reopening. Operations have continued at the other five plants where they have had at least one positive, including, their plants in Hamilton, Bradford, Toronto and Guelph in Ontario and in Laval, Quebec.
In addition to the precautionary measures MLF are taking to protect their people, the company is continuously updating contingency plans and business continuity efforts, as well as working with supply chain and industry partners. People need to eat and Canadians need to see stability and sustainability in the food supply chain.
IN THEIR WORDS
We are deeply saddened by the passing of a valued team member at our Viau North Montreal Sunday, April 19. As we support our affected team members, we will also continue to be vigilant with our protective measures.
Comprehensive COVID-19 prevention efforts, including:
- Increasing social distancing where ever possible
- Temperature checks and daily health screenings upon arrival
- Mandatory face coverings for all of Team Members at all sites
- Increased sanitation in common welfare areas like cafeterias, locker rooms and breakrooms
- Staggered breaks and start times to reduce the potential for congestion
- Addition of trailers and tents to decrease density during breaks
- Ongoing reminders to all team members NOT to come to work when feeling ill or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Our message: When you take care of yourself, you take care of all of us
We have also implemented monitoring protocols to validate the implementation and status of these protective measures.
These extra efforts augment our normal, thorough, daily sanitation procedures and widespread use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all our sites. We are absolutely committed to protecting the health and safety of our people and will continue to update our practices following the most current CDC guidelines.
Our front line team members who are coming to work to continue making food people need are truly heroes and we are providing them weekly bonuses. We have also set up a program to make support available for team members who are prevented from working due to COVID-19 related illness, symptoms or suspension of plant operations, which will be coordinated with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Maple Leaf Foods is also actively engaged in supporting our communities through this crisis. We have announced several important actions to support our communities through emergency food relief and financial support for front line health care workers.
We recognize that our food products are essential in nourishing people, and even more so in times like this.
We are committed to continuing to execute our business with excellence, protecting the health of our people, being vigilant in the steps we are taking to mitigate the risk of the spread of the virus and doing our part to produce the food people need through these challenging times.
Read more about Maple Leaf Foods and its sustainability efforts, click HERE.