MII confirms presence of Covid-19 cases in ‘some meat plants’

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has confirmed that some meat processing facilities around the country have seen positive cases of Covid-19 among staff.

The processor representative body did not identify the plants concerned, or specify their locations.

The MII statement comes on the back of news this morning, Friday, May 1, that the Dawn Meats plant in Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath, would be closing temporarily as a result of Covid-19 cases discovered there.

“As the Covid-19 situation has evolved across the country, unfortunately some meat processing facilities have had to manage the impact of positive cases,” MII said.

The statement said that these plants have “followed, in full, the advice and recommendations of the HSE [Health Service Executive]”.

In terms of production levels and throughput, MII said that these have been maintained in the pigmeat, lamb and poultry sectors.

On the beef side, throughput is down around 20% on the same week last year, and down 30% compared to early March 2020.

However, MII said that this shortfall is due to market disruption, rather than operational disruption as a result of Covid-19 cases.

Dawn Meats

Earlier today, it was confirmed that Dawn Meats has temporarily closed one of its meat plants following the discovery of four confirmed cases of Covid-19.

The Kilbeggan facility in Co. Westmeath is the affected plant, Dawn Meats confirmed.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the processor said: “When we became aware of four confirmed cases of Covid-19 among workers in Kilbeggan we decided to defer production in the plant yesterday.

“The cases reflect less than 2% of staff at the plant – however, the decision was taken out of an abundance of caution while we review the situation,” the spokesperson added.

6 clusters in beef plants

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has confirmed that he and his department are aware of six clusters of Covid-19 in beef plants – five in processing plants and one in a de-boning plant.

The minister revealed the news in response to a parliamentary question in the Dáil last night, Thursday, April 30, from Sinn Féin spokesperson for agriculture Brian Stanley.

“There has been engagement by those meat plants. HSE staff and officials from my department have been involved. The feedback to me is that there has been strong co-operation,” Minister Creed told the Dáil.