COVID-19 infections force Thai Union to close fish canning factory in Ghana

Published on
May 13, 2020

Thai Union has closed its cannery in Ghana after one of its employees tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Pioneer Food Cannery (PFC) in Tema, Ghana, was shut immediately for disinfection and cleaning on 17 April, when the company received results of the positive test. It has also collaborated with local authorities to undertake quarantining and tracing measures to mitigate potential risks, Thai Union said in a 12 May statement.

A spokesman for Thai Union told SeafoodSource via email on 13 May that the cannery was partially re-opened on 11 May on a trial basis with limited capacity “to carry out maintenance and clear certain backlogs."

“In consultation with the authorities, we have decided to remain closed, but have been making every effort to reopen in phases as workers are cleared to return to work following negative tests,” he said, adding that the factory will run with limited capacity for an undefined period before resuming full operations.

Thai Union said it is working closely with the government of Ghana and health authorities to carry out testing for the workers. The company is also maintaining “the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene to both protect our staff and to maintain the safety and high quality of our products."

Although the company has not revealed the number of confirmed cases at PFC, Abraham Koomson, head of the Ghana Federation of Labor, said a total of 533 cases positive tests for coronavirus were conducted at PFC, according to Reuters.

As has been the case with many seafood producers, Bangkok, Thailand-based Thai Union has had to deal with rapidly changing business conditions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, the company said in a public statement accompanying the release of its first quarter results that the global restaurant chain Red Lobster, in which it holds a minority stake, has been hit by the lockdowns in the U.S., with all dining halls being shut down and 60 percent being open for take-out service only.

Reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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