Villari Foods processing plant in Duplin County impacted by COVID-19

Published: May. 13, 2020 at 8:05 PM EDT
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Duplin County says a second plant there is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak.

The county says local, state, and federal agencies, along with Villari Foods, are taking action to protect Villari team members, mitigate further spread of COVID-19, and protect the food supply chain following a recent outbreak at Villari Foods production facilities in Duplin County.

An outbreak is defined as two or more positive cases identified within the same facility.

A release from Duplin County Government says, "In recent months,Villari Foods took the appropriate action steps to slow the spread of COVID-19, including strict sanitization protocols, social distancing everywhere possible, daily temperature screenings,and required use of face masks when inside the facility. Villari Foods and Duplin County Health Department have been working together very closely, which has been instrumental in helping Villari Foods contain this pandemic to the best of its ability. Duplin County Health Department is leading the outbreak response, including contact tracing to determine who may have been exposed to each positive COVID-19 case. The health department gathers all the necessary information when there is a positive case identified to include their close contacts to ensure each individual is following the CDC guidelines and are in isolation at home. Villari Foods will continue to provide pay for team members unable to work when testing positive for COVID-19, recovering from the disease,or because they have been asked to self-quarantine by the health department or other medical professional. To protect team members and the food supply, Villari Foods is following the interim COVID-19 guidance for meat and poultry processing, processing workers and employers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupation Safety and Health Administration. Villari Foods aggressively continues to pursue initiatives that best protect employees while they are at work. The company’s response efforts continue to evolve as new guidance and supplies become available. Most recently, the company has implemented protective face shields for production areas where physical distancing is not possible."

“We are grateful to have the support of local, state,and federal agencies through this unprecedented time.Our goal is to protect the safety of our team members; this is crucial for us so we can continue to help supply food for your tables,” said Joe Villari, CEO of Villari Foods.

The county has not said how many cases there are at Villari foods.

Viillari Foods sells pork, turkey and other meat products.

The Butterball plant has also been dealing with an outbreak where WITN records show there have been more than 50 cases of COVID-19.