High Liner Foods suspends Portsmouth plant operations due to COVID-19 cases
High Liner Foods Inc. has announced the temporary suspension of all operations at its Portsmouth, New Hampshire, U.S.A., processing facility due to confirmed positive cases of COVID-19.
The company announced the move on 20 April, as High Liner works to protect its employees at plants in both the U.S. and Canada.
"Our priority is the health and safety of our employees who are doing essential work supplying food to families across North America," High Liner President and CEO Rod Hepponstall said. "We are maximizing all available resources to safeguard our people and ensure a steady supply of frozen seafood to meet the needs of retailers and consumers across North America during this unprecedented time."
The company added that it is activating its “COVID-19” response plan, which includes deep cleaning, contact tracing, and risk assessment, with operations resuming at the plant as soon as it is “responsible to do so.” In the meantime, a portion of the production at the plant is being redirected to High Liner’s Newport News, Virginia, and Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, Canada plants.
“High Liner Foods notes that government experts in Canada and the U.S have made it clear that COVID-19 is not a foodborne illness and there is currently no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of COVID-19,” the company stated.
In addition to the temporary suspension, the company also reiterated that it is adhering to all U.S. Center for Disease Control and Health Canada guidance on dealing with COVID-19. Those steps include increased sanitation of common areas, social distancing, staggered shifts, and plans to introduce temperature screening at production facilities.
“The company remains committed to supporting all of it stakeholders during this challenging time, especially the health and safety of its employees and assistance to customers and suppliers,” High Liner stated.
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