Spike in meat plant Covid-19 cases ‘a stark reminder of threat’ – MII

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has responded to the recent spike in confirmed cases of Covid-19 and virus clusters in meat processing plants, saying it is “a stark reminder of the persistent threat”.

The issue of Covid-19 in meat plants has re-entered the news in recent days, and yesterday, Tuesday, August 4, it was revealed that the lamb processing line of the Kildare Chilling plant in Co. Kildare had suspended operations due to a cluster there.

In response to this, MII has said: “The confirmation of positive Covid-19 cases, which are the first we have seen in a number of weeks now, act as a stark reminder of the persistent threat of Covid-19 and the relentless effort and focus that has to be maintained to keep it [Covid-19] out of our plants and protect staff, while also keeping the supply chain in operation.

Protocols are robust and every possible measure is being deployed in processing facilities.

“Continued vigilance is critical,” the MII statement added.

Following the cessation of operations at Kildare Chilling, sources indicated that “upwards of 50%” of the staff on the lamb line have contracted Covid-19. This figure, or the number of cases, has not been confirmed by the processor.

Kildare Chilling – which processes beef and lamb – issued a short statement on the matter, saying that “full contact tracing” has been undertaken for the affected staff members.

While the company did not provide the exact number of cases confirmed, it did note that the affected staff members are self-isolating.

Further testing of staff members is being undertaken at the plant, in line with recommendations, the company said.