Covid-19: What are dairy processors doing to ‘keep the wheels turning’?

Dairy processors around the country are ramping up procedures in a bid to keep milk processing on the go, while also minimising the risk of Covid-19.

AgriLand contacted various processors to find out what exactly they are doing to “keep the wheels turning” to ensure that the show goes on for the sector.

Glanbia

A spokesperson for Glanbia Ireland told AgriLand: “All our facilities are continuing to run at their normal levels for this time of year.

“There is currently no Covid-19-related disruption to production. Our teams are continuing to monitor this rapidly evolving situation on an ongoing basis.

Glanbia Ireland has put in place a series of wide-ranging measures all along our supply chain. Some of these measures include strictly limiting visits to farms to essential-only [and] limiting visits to our plants to business-critical; additional steps in our facilities including social distancing and all non-operational staff working from home.

“Our teams of drivers and our farmer suppliers have also been required to put in place additional precautionary and biosecurity measures,” the Glanbia representative concluded.

Kerry

Speaking to AgriLand, a spokesperson for Kerry Group said: “Milk processing is not impacted and neither is milk collecting.

“We have our protocols in place and our strategies in terms of how to mitigate against potential issues as far as possible.”

Kerry Group has been engaging with other stakeholders regarding future plans and is closely monitoring the situation, the representative added.

Dairygold

In a statement last week to all stakeholders in Dairygold’s operations, the southern cooperative outlined what “necessary steps” and measures it is taking to limit Covid-19.

Regarding people and employees, a number of steps have been taken, with all non-essential site-visits to any Dairygold prohibited and all business travel suspended.

A remote working policy for office-based employees has been implemented, while a strict working and social distancing policy across all Dairygold sites has been introduced in line with Health Service Executive (HSE) recommendations.

On the dairy operations front, all Dairygold milk processing facilities remain fully operational. In addition, contingency planning and capability studies are being undertaken to ensure “production facilities are well equipped for the challenges which may lay ahead”.

Dairygold added that it is actively working with Dairy Industry Ireland on a national contingency plan.

Carbery Group

In a statement, a spokesperson for Carbery Group said:

“To safeguard health and well-being, where possible, employees have been asked to work from home but, inevitably to maintain production and customer support, we have employees who are physically working from one of our locations.”

The representative said the group is making every effort to protect and support all employees as they carry out their activities.

Other measures being taken across all Carbery Group and Synergy sites include: restricting travel; cancelling in-person meetings; practising social distancing and strict observance of HSE guidelines; more frequent cleaning and more cleaning supplies available; and restricting visitors to sites.

“We understand our role as part of an important global food supply chain, which is essential to protect during this crisis.”

It was stressed that production is currently continuing, with necessary precautions to ensure the safety of employees, suppliers and customers.

“We have experienced no disruption in supply or distribution to date but we are monitoring the situation closely. Business continuity plans are in place should this situation change.

We are continuing to accept milk from our farmer suppliers with no disruption, but with necessary precautions in place. Milk collection has not been disrupted and, along with the four west Cork co-ops, we are all adhering to the advice of health authorities.

“We are also in regular contact with Government and industry bodies and following their advice. We will continue to monitor the situation and respond to changes as they arise over the coming weeks,” the group representative concluded.

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