A chicken factory that supplies meat to KFC and M&S closed for two weeks after 58 workers tested positive for coronavirus during a major outbreak.
The 2 Sisters Food Group announced today that it is “doing the right thing” and will stop working on site for 14 days with immediate effect.
Public Health Wales has confirmed that 58 cases of Covid-19 have been identified at the Llangefni plant in north Wales.
Chicken factory, above, which supplies meat to KFC and M&S, closed for two weeks after 58 workers tested positive for coronavirus during a major outbreak
Earlier this week, unions said they were aware of 13 cases among factory staff, with 110 people self-isolating as a precaution, while council chiefs said efforts to attacking the cluster were given priority.
In a statement, the firm said, “The health, safety and well-being of our colleagues is ultimately what matters most in our business. We are a responsible company with people at the bottom. Without our people, we are nothing.
“Therefore, in light of the current Covid-19 business at our Llangefni site, we have decided to take the necessary steps to clearly demonstrate how seriously we are taking this issue by doing the right thing.
“If we act correctly, we temporarily suspend production at our site in Llangefni with immediate effect for a period of 14 days.
“We will not tolerate any unnecessary risk, however small, for our loyal workforce on site.
“We have worked closely over the past week with Public Health Wales, Anglesey Council, the Health & Safety Executive, the FSA (Food Standards Agency) and the Unite union, all of whom have provided excellent advice, scientific knowledge and support, and we thank them for their help and advice that informed this decision.
“Our only goal now is to make sure that we support all of our colleagues during this period and look forward to operating safely and securely within 14 days.”
The company said the first positive case reported to the factory occurred on May 28 and that a comprehensive “safe work practices” action plan had been in place since early March.
The 2 Sisters food group supplies chicken to retailers such as KFC. In a press release, the company announced that it will “temporarily suspend production” at its Llangefni site (file photo)
Plaid Cymru’s Rhun ap Iorwerth posted on Twitter: “Talking to the leadership of 2 sisters this morning – a decision made late yesterday evening to suspend operations at the Llangefni chicken processing plant after a major Covid-19 epidemic.
“It is the right decision to protect staff and the public.”
He added, “I think it has to happen to end this epidemic.
“The Anglesey Council Contact Research team will make breaking the transmission chains a priority, and I will be looking for updates on this.” “
Dr. Christopher Johnson, Wales Health Protection Consultant for Public Health, said: “Public health in Wales can confirm that the employees and contractors of the poultry processing plant 2 Sisters in Llangefni have been informed that they are in contact with the coronavirus, and we are asking them to isolate themselves for 14 days to help protect the health of the population.
2 Sisters Food Group is one of the largest food producers in the UK, with customers such as supermarkets and other brands (a supermarket aisle with rows of chicken, file photo)
“We are working closely with the employer, the boards of Anglesey and Gwynedd, the board of health of the University of Betsi Cadwaladr and other partners, and our priority is to quickly put an end to this outbreak.”
He added: “We remind all members of the public that they have a vital role to play in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, in order to keep Wales safe.
“They can do it by always following the social distancing guidelines – that is, staying two meters from others – wash their hands regularly and work from home if they can.
“If they meet members of another household, as permitted by the guidelines, they must stay outside and stay local.”
Production at the factory, where 560 people are employed, will be transferred to other company sites until July 2.
2 Sisters Food Group is one of the UK’s largest food producers, with brands such as Fox’s Biscuits and Holland’s Pies, and customers such as supermarkets, KFC and Marks & Spencer.
The Llangefni site does not supply retail or brand name customers, the company said.