Perdue Farms' COVID-19 Response Updates
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A Message from Jim Perdue, Chairman of Perdue Farms
“At Perdue Farms, we remain focused on the health and safety of our associates, farmers, customers, consumers, communities, and business partners, as well as ensuring the continuity of our supply chain during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government has deemed food industry workers as mission-critical personnel, which is a huge responsibility that we are committed to fulfilling while keeping our associates safe.
Our primary concern is the health of our people. As a 100-year-old company, we have always known our associates are frontline heroes in America’s food supply chain. As they remain dedicated to their essential roles to help keep our nation fed, we remain committed to supporting and protecting them.
We’ve enacted numerous proactive measures to protect our associates during this uncharted time. For example, at our plants, we are practicing social distancing not only in common areas, such as break rooms and cafeterias, but also on the production lines where possible, and we have implemented temperature checking at all production facilities. As we continue to navigate the challenges posed by this unprecedented pandemic, we will continue to seek additional opportunities to protect and support our associates who are continuing to produce safe, high-quality food for our country.”
News and Updates
- Perdue Farms salutes our Frontline Hero Associates with a 5-part series of videos featuring our associates sharing what motivates them to come to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Part 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 – May 28, 2020
- A Message from Jim Perdue on the Safety of Employees - May 6, 2020
Statement: Perdue Farms Statement on the Activation of the Defense Production Act to Protect America’s Food Supply – May 5, 2020
Chairman Jim Perdue shares measures Perdue Farms is taking to keep associates safe on Good Morning America – April 17, 2020
Chairman Jim Perdue joins ABC News Nightline to discuss the measures Perdue Farms has implemented to protect and support our associates – April 16, 2020
- Perdue Farms featured in FORBES as a brand showing its core values during COVID-19 – April 15, 2020
- Chairman Jim Perdue joins Good Morning America, encourages consumers to have confidence in the nation’s food supply chain and discusses how Perdue Farms is pivoting to meet adjustments in demand – April 14, 2020
- Chairman Jim Perdue joins Food Tank president Danielle Nierenberg to discuss the importance of focusing on farmers, the challenges farmers face during COVID-19, and the measures Perdue Farms is taking to keep people safe and fed during the crisis – April 9, 2020
- Press Release: Perdue 'Delivering Hope To Our Neighbors' Amid COVID-19 Crisis – April 9, 2020
- Press Release: Perdue Farms Continues Increased Measures to Protect and Support Associates During COVID-19 – April 8, 2020
- Press Release: Perdue Farms Confirms Positive Case of COVID-19 at Perry, Georgia Production Facility – March 28, 2020
- Perdue Farms Chairman Jim Perdue shares his commitment to our associates on Yahoo! Finance – March 27, 2020
- A Message from Jim Perdue to Food Industry Workers and Consumers – March 24, 2020
- Perdue Farms CEO Randy Day discusses COVID-19 and the food supply chain on CNBC – March 17, 2020
- Perdue Farms replaces previously planned product-focused ad campaign with messages from chairman Jim Perdue expressing his thanks to “folks who are rarely seen, even more rarely thanked, yet they’re always there when we need them the most.” Watch the :15-second and :30-second messages.
How We’re Supporting Our Associates
Beginning in early March, Perdue has taken the following steps to create additional layers of safety for our associates:
- We have proactively increased our stringent cleaning and sanitation protocols.
- Where social distancing isn’t possible in our production facilities, we have rolled out temporary installations of dividers between our associates on production lines. The design of these partitions is such that they can be easily customized and installed in many different applications throughout our production facilities where needed. The stainless elements are welded versus bolted to minimize potential pathogen harborage points. Made using either plexiglass or stretched trash bags, the dividers will be cleaned or replaced, respectively, between every shift.
- Utilizing infrared non-contact temperature devices, everyone entering a production facility must have their temperature taken each day by trained testers. Anyone with a temperature at or above applicable health department guidelines will be directed to that facility’s onsite Wellness Center, which is always available free of charge to our associates, for further screening and instruction.
- We have rolled out a disposable mask program at all production facilities.
- We have extended the hours of many of our onsite Wellness Centers for the foreseeable future, which are staffed with local healthcare providers and are available to all associates and their families free of charge. Some Wellness Center locations are accessible to Perdue associates only in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices that prohibit outside guests from entering the building. Dependents of associates who are unable to visit a Wellness Center can talk directly with a doctor by using telehealth services that are available through Perdue’s healthcare provider at no cost. Additionally, associates and their family members have access to the company’s Employee Assistance Program which provides a variety of confidential services including professional counselors and work/life specialists 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Associates are encouraged to stay home if they are not feeling well or think they might have been exposed to the virus.
Perdue is aware that this pandemic is creating stress for many of our associates and their families beyond the immediate health concerns. That is why, in addition to additional safety precautions in our facilities, Perdue has taken steps to increase compensation for our employees and create flexibilities in our leave policies. For example:
- We have waived the 5-day waiting period of short-term disability for any associate who contracts COVID-19, so that he or she can receive immediate benefits.
- All hourly associates have received a $1-per-hour pay raise and all Piece Rate associates (such as Perdue Truck Drivers) a $40-per-week pay increase. These temporary increases will be in effect March 23 to May 31, 2020.
- We have fully funded our annual profit-sharing Associate Bonus Program and paid it to eligible associates two months early. Normally, associates must be employed with us on the first day of our Fiscal Year (on or around April 1, 2019) to be eligible for this bonus, but we have adjusted this criterion to include applicable associates hired prior to February 1, 2020.
- Because this pandemic has caused many of our associates to cancel their vacation or personal time off (PTO), we have temporarily removed the PTO accrual maximum for all associates until June 1, 2020. This will allow associates to continue accruing PTO weekly/biweekly past the maximum amount, and they will have until June 1, 2021 to utilize the days over their PTO maximum.
- We are providing our production associates with chicken products to take home for themselves and their families.
COVID-19 and Food Safety
Per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is not known to be a foodborne pathogen. As the agency has stated, “because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.” Perdue continues to follow strict preventive safety and sanitation standards in all our facilities. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service continues to inspect all Perdue Farms products, which are made with the highest standards of safety and quality, as well as our production facilities, which are fully sanitized every 24 hours at minimum.
Additional resources from federal food safety agencies: