Thursday, 12 March 2020Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has met with DAFM to discuss contingency arrangements in the event of the spread of Covid-19 and the potential impact on processing sites.
While the statement by An Taoiseach this morning signalled the implementation of enhanced controls nationally, it was clear that people can and should continue to go to work. In that context, and given the critical nature of food processing operations, meat processing plants will continue to operate, albeit with heightened protocols in place.
We are equally conscious of the need, in so far as possible, to maintain normal processing operations given the knock-on implications at farm level and the need to move animals in an orderly fashion. Companies will continue to ensure they are complying fully with the relevant guidelines from the HSE in terms of public health.
Meat processing establishments already operate stringent protocols on staff hygiene and site biosecurity. These are being further reinforced as this situation develops. Business contingency planning is a key focus of companies during the current situation and individual companies have formed Covid-19 response teams to continuously monitor the situation and brief their staff and stakeholders accordingly. Non-essential movement of staff between sites and other external locations is being reduced or ceased. Companies are engaged directly with all their stakeholders (suppliers, contractors, hauliers etc.) in the supply chain outlining what they can do to ensure the prevention of the spread of Covid-19.