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LAMMA 2021

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78 meat factory workers test positive for Covid-19

Health officials are investigating after 78 workers at a meat processing plant in Aberdeenshire tested positive for Covid-19.

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NHS Grampian does not believe the cluster of cases at the Kepak McIntosh Donald in Portlethen has spread beyond the plant, but testing of 200 employees was underway.

 

A spokesman for the health board said: “We are investigating 78 detected cases of Covid-19 associated with the Kepak McIntosh Donald plant in Portlethen.

 

“An incident management team, with representation from the NHS, the plant, environmental health and Food Standards Scotland, has been set up.

 

Confirmed cases

 

“Following a small number of confirmed cases associated with the plant – and after discussions with management there – we offered asymptomatic testing to all employees on Monday.

 

“More than 200 staff took up the offer.”

 

The news came as 122 new coronavirus cases were reported in Grampian, up from 49 on Tuesday.

 

The spokesman added: “These results are now being processed and account for much of the increase in our case numbers in Grampian.

 

“They are not the only reason behind today’s increase in case numbers – we continue to see other clusters of cases and the virus continues to circulate in the community.”

The British Meat Processors Association, together with the Food Standards Agency and the Northern Ireland Meat Exporters Association recently called on Government to prioritise meat factory workers on its list of early recipients for a Covid-19 vaccine.

 

The cold factory environment, alongside the rural locations of meat plants, with workers opting to house and car share, puts these workers at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19.

 

The sector has suffered several virus outbreaks across UK processing sites and has had to invest significantly in measures to ensure staff safety and supply chain continuity.

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