Sunday, 25 Oct 2020

Factory producing beans and tinned soup shut down due to coronavirus outbreak

A factory that produces baked beans, soup and other canned produce has closed due to an outbreak of coronavirus.

Food firm Princes confirmed that 14 members of staff at a plant in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, had tested positive for Covid-19.

The factory, which has a workforce of 407, was closed for 24 hours so a deep clean could take place. It has now reopened.

A Princes spokesperson said: ‘Our first priority is the wellbeing and safety of our colleagues. We have been following government advice since the outbreak of COVID-19 and will continue to do so.

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‘We can confirm 14 of our Wisbech-based colleagues have recently tested positive for coronavirus. The total number of colleagues at Wisbech is 407.

‘As soon as these colleagues were symptomatic they were asked to self-isolate and contact the health authorities to be tested, and to be logged as part of track and trace efforts.

‘A deep clean of the facilities these colleagues used was also conducted, alongside further stringent cleaning across the site.

‘As an additional step, we took the responsible decision to temporarily close the whole site for 24 hours so a further deep clean could be completed. The site has now reopened.

‘Throughout the period that COVID-19 has presented a risk, we have implemented social distancing measures and adapted our work environment in line with relevant guidance to minimise the chances of infection within the factory.

‘All colleagues that are able to work from home are doing so and we have taken steps to ensure we have adequate supply of PPE for our colleagues.

‘We remain in close contact with Public Health England and Fenland Council so they are fully informed of our approach and developments at the site.’

The factory produces food such as beans, pulses, vegetables, pasta and sauces in cans and pouches for a number of retailers.

It is the latest in a string of food processing plants to be caught up in a coronavirus outbreak in recent days, amid fears that the virus could be spreading within enclosed and even cold spaces.

Public Health Wales has reported 200 confirmed Covid-19 cases at the 2 Sisters chicken processing plant, which employs 500 people in Llangefni on Anglesey.

A further 34 cases were reported at Kepak in Merthyr Tydfil and 70 at Rowan Foods in Wrexham.

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