Meat+Poultry - June 2020 - 19

achievable in certain parts of the plant. Instead,
their approach was to provide three degrees
of physical barrier: "We put partitions up in
production areas and lunchrooms. Everyone
now wears a mask and a face shield."
2) Screening employees prior to work:
Many plants are screening people as they
come to work, via questionnaire or by
thermal scan with a sensor which can detect
fever in individuals. Keeping sick employees
from infecting others is another means
of separation.
3) Strategic scheduling: Plants are adjusting
schedules by managing how and when
employees arrive at work; enter the plant;
report to their workstations; take breaks; and
attend meetings. Such tactical scheduling
is another element of controlling physical
separation for employees in movement at plant
entries, in welfare areas, cafeterias and in
locker rooms.
4) Increased use of decontaminating
chemicals: Facilities are increasing the
concentration of sanitizing chemicals
when safely possible, including the use of
virus killing disinfectants in welfare areas.
Companies such as Henderson, Colo.-based
Birko Corp. and Fusion Tech Integrated Inc.,
Roseville, Ill., have started manufacturing
fogging/misting equipment and supplies.
Contract sanitation companies like Packer's
Sanitation Inc. (PSSI), Kieler, Wis., are
helping plants with deep cleaning and plant
decontamination programs that specifically
target the COVID-19 virus.

KILLING STEP
When a business' sole focus is sanitizing food
plants, keeping facilities clean is a daily job
that requires a rigorous process to produce a
food-safe environment. PSSI has adapted its
process on the fly to address client concerns
about employee health and COVID-19.
"Sanitation is the core of our business
model, so we were largely prepared to confront
the challenges of COVID-19," said Dan Taft,
chief executive officer of PSSI. "As COVID-19
spread quickly across the country, we worked
closely with customers to provide critical
sanitation services to clean and decontaminate
facilities in case of exposure and provide a new
decontamination process to all 500 facilities we
clean in North America."

Taft cited an example of a customer with an
employee that tested positive for the virus and
who had worked in several areas of the plant.
"Our operations team quickly
partnered with the company to formulate
a decontamination plan," he said. "PSSI
developed a strategy that included fogging
with Purer Hard Surface, a patented misting
solution listed on the US Environmental
Protection Agency's List N: Disinfectants for
Use Against SARS-CoV-2. We decontaminated
the facility in 17 hours and limited downtime."
PSSI has also changed the way their own
employees work.
"Some of the new steps we have taken to
protect our employees include measures to
ensure adherence to the practices of social
distancing," Taft added. "We are staggering
start times, breaks, and meal periods. We also
provide additional PPE for our team members
and implemented pre-shift temperature
screening as a strategy to maintain a
safe workplace."

"When
everything
started
breaking,
you couldn't
find hand
sanitizer."
- MARK SWANSON

UNCHARTED TERRITORY
Birko, a chemical, equipment and technology
company, recognized the challenge from the
start.
"There was no playbook", said Kelly
Green, president of Birko and the thirdgeneration leader of her family's business.
As the coronavirus epic unfolded, Birko
concentrated on nimble responses to
customer needs.
One change addressed the need for hand
sanitizer products. Previously a distributor
of the product, Birko quickly shifted to
manufacturing it.
"When everything started breaking, you
couldn't find hand sanitizer," said Mark
Swanson, CEO of Birko. "We knew that if
we had a lead time that would be measured
in months, it wouldn't be sufficient. So, we
pivoted fast and started making our own FDAapproved hand sanitizer, blending it here and
shipping truckload quantities."
In another key response area, Green
said Birko benefited by looking to its
in-house experts.
"We utilized our engineering team to figure
out what kind of equipment can be used to
dispense these products in welfare areas or
other self-contained areas," she said.
www.meatpoultry.com | 06.20 | MEAT+ POULTRY

19


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Meat+Poultry - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - June 2020

Meat+Poultry - June 2020 - 1
Meat+Poultry - June 2020 - FC - 1
Meat+Poultry - June 2020 - FC - 2
Meat+Poultry - June 2020 - 1
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Meat+Poultry - June 2020 - VDG - 1
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