Greencore has become the latest food manufacturing business to suffer a major coronavirus outbreak.
The convenience food manufacturer, which makes products for M&S, confirmed today that 292 employees had tested positive at its factory in Moulton Park Industrial Estate, Northampton.
Seventy-nine tests were carried out through the NHS independently over recent weeks. When it became apparent there had been an outbreak, Greencore appointed a private testing firm to test all its employees, and identified 213 more cases.
Those that had tested positive for the virus were now self-isolating, said Greencore, adding for each positive case it had immediately conducted contact tracing and instructed potentially affected colleagues to self-isolate.
A Greencore spokeswoman said: “We are working closely with PHE East Midlands, Northamptonshire County Council and Northampton Borough Council, who are fully supportive of the controls that we have on site.
“All of Greencore’s sites have wide-ranging social distancing measures, stringent hygiene procedures and regular temperature checking in place, and we are doing everything that we can to keep our people safe. As ever, the health and wellbeing of our colleagues is our number-one priority.”
Production is continuing at the facility despite the outbreak.
Northamptonshire County Council director of public health Lucy Wightman said it was “evident that Greencore has highly effective measures in place and they continue to work extremely hard to exceed the requirements needed to be Covid-19 secure within the workplace”.
It’s the latest in a string of food manufacturing businesses to have an outbreak of the virus, with known cases including one death at Moy Park, three deaths at a Cranswick meat processing factory and more than 200 cases at a 2 Sisters site in Anglesey.
Earlier this week it was reported that a Tesco Extra store in Swindon had been hit by a coronavirus outbreak, with “a small number” of confirmed cases.