Vion to tighten compliance protocol for Boxtel production location in consultation with Municipal Health Service

Date: 03-06-2020

Random test by Municipal Health Service (GGD) at Vion in Boxtel: 18 employees test positive

Boxtel, 2 June 2020 – On the recommendation of the Municipal Health Service (GGD), Vion Food Group is tightening compliance with all corona measures at its production location in Boxtel. Of the 105 employees in Boxtel tested by the Municipal Health Service, 18 (17%) tested positive. The majority of them have mild to moderate symptoms, according to the source and contact investigation by the Municipal Health Service, which is not fully completed yet. The employees who tested positive work in specific parts of the company. Vion will be introducing a compliance protocol for the organisation as a whole, with additional measures for those specific parts of the company. The protocol seeks to ensure protection of staff, so that all employees without health complaints can continue to work. Vion will also introduce this compliance protocol at its other production locations. The Municipal Health Service is monitoring the agreements made.

Findings and analysis prompt more specific measures

The random sample and the analysis of the test results by the Municipal Health Service have provided new and additional insights. The employees who tested positive mainly work within the so-called “cold areas”, such as the Cutting hall and Processing. No-one working in other parts of the company, such as the Abattoir hall, has been found to be infected.

The primary measures that have been included in the compliance protocol and that will take effect at Vion Boxtel as of Tuesday, 2 June are as follows:

  • Vion will perform daily large-scale cleaning and disinfection in Boxtel, aimed at reducing the chance of the coronavirus being present. In addition to this cleaning and disinfection of the work area, the entire area will be disinfected by means of disinfecting air treatment. Vion has agreed to share any new insights it may gain with the Municipal Health Service.
  • Vion will introduce a daily health check, approved by the Municipal Health Service, which includes a test of the health and well-being of all employees upon arrival at the company. Vion will perform this health check every day, for all employees and visitors as well as for inspectors working on site. Vion will provide different language versions and interpreters.
  • In doing so, Vion focuses in particular on the health and well-being of migrant workers. Vion has already taken additional corona-related measures addressing the living situation and transport of employees and will extend these even further.
  • In line with Municipal Health Service test policy, Vion will be performing the health checks as of today. When employees, visitors or inspectors are found to have any health complaints, they will be refused access to the company and be referred to the Municipal Health Service for additional testing. Employees who have reported sick will, in consultation with the company doctor, also be put into contact with the Municipal Health Service for testing. The following policy applies to employees after their individual test results have been made known:
    • people who test negative are permitted to go to work, provided they have not shown any symptoms for 24 hours;
    • people who test positive and show symptoms must stay in isolation at home until they have not shown any symptoms for 24 hours. They may only return to work if at least 7 days have passed since the test result;
    • people who test positive and do not show any symptoms must stay in home isolation for 72 hours. If symptoms develop within this period, the policy from the previous point will be initiated.
  • The Minicipal Health Service will repeat a random sample among the employees of the company at a time yet to be determined.
  • The Municipal Health Service has informed Vion that work can be resumed if progress of the measures and additional insights from the source and contact investigation give reason to do so.
  • Finally, Vion will be working with the Municipal Health Service on an ongoing basis in relation to medical matters, research and surveillance, and process and quality agreements.

Protection of employees

Ronald Lotgerink, CEO of Vion Food Group: “The results of the test carried out by the Municipal Health Service are clear and we will immediately act on them. The thorough disinfection will take place daily. We will inform our employees of the specific measures as best we can. Our corona supervisors will support our employees at the production location and hold them to account about compliance with the tightened corona protocols. These tightened measures will be implemented in Boxtel and also be introduced at our other locations. All this is aimed at protecting our employees and the people around them. We must contain the virus together. We follow the Municipal Health Service experts and are learning more and more about how we can ensure that our employees can work safely. Our employees are proud of our company and just want to do their work in a safe and clean working environment where they can comply with the distancing regulations.”

Limiting impact for partners in the supply chain

Expectations are that, with the introduction of the new compliance protocol, the production location in Boxtel will be slaughtering fewer pigs than normal on Tuesday and the following days. Vion makes every effort to minimise the consequences for its suppliers and to optimise supply of meat to our customers. Where necessary, Vion is in contact with pig farmers who supply Boxtel and the customers that are supplied by Vion.

The Vion website contains an overview of all measures taken to contain the coronavirus https://www.vionfoodgroup.com/nl/covid-19-update.

Vion

Vion Holding N.V. is an international food company with production locations in the Netherlands and Germany and with sales support offices in thirteen countries worldwide. In 2019, Vion had a turnover of €5.1 billion, employing 12,000 staff.