Duplin County NC

Duplin County Poultry Processing Plant Impacted by COVID-19

April 27, 2020

Local, state, and federal agencies, along with turkey producer Butterball, LLC, are taking action together to protect employees, mitigate further spread of COVID-19, and protect the food supply following a recent outbreak at the Butterball production facility in Duplin County located near the town of Mt Olive. An outbreak is defined when there are two or more positive cases identified within the same facility.

In recent months Butterball 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 surgical-style face masks when inside the facility. Butterball, LLC. and Duplin County Health Department have been working together with the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDACS) in addition to other local agencies such as Goshen Medical Center, local hospitals, and other local health departments.

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. Butterball will continue to provide pay and benefits for employees unable to work while being tested 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 employees and the food supply, Butterball, LLC. is following the interim COVID-19 guidance for meat and poultry processing facilities, (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/meat-poultry-processing-workers-employers.html), from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Butterball continues to aggressively 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 is sourcing protective face shields for production areas where physical distancing is not possible.

“We are pleased to have the support of local, state and federal agencies through this unprecedented time,” said Butterball President and CEO, Jay Jandrain. “Ensuring we have the proper safety and operational procedures in place to protect the safety of our team members is crucial for us to continue putting food on tables as the country responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

For more information on North Carolina’s COVID-19 response and links to other guidance, please visit https://www.nc.gov/covid19. Also, the Duplin County Health Department has a COVID-19 phone line (910-296-2130 ext. 8160) for questions only as no medical advice or assessments are provided from this line. Butterball, LLC. employees may contact the team member care line at 919-255-7610.