Food Producers Cope with Pandemic Complications While Retail Demand Surges
The following is an except from GrainsWest Magazine, story written by Ian Doig
COVID SIX: FOOD MANUFACTURERS
Canada has seen a growing number of positive tests for COVID-19 among employees at meat processing facilities, which has resulted in slowdowns and closures. This has been most pronounced in Alberta where the Cargill plant in High River is to resume production May 4 following a two-week shutdown. In contrast, agri-food processors have fared much better. Just as seed plants, elevators and farm-to-export transportation links have weathered the pandemic remarkably well, grain-reliant food manufacturers have continued to function, even upping production to meet an aggressive surge in consumer demand.
Weathering the pandemic has perhaps been easier for non-meat food companies due to the way they are staffed and configured, but food manufacturers have leveraged this inherent protection.
“Protocols have been very effective in the milling industry,” said Gordon Harrison, president of the Canadian National Millers Association. As of April 27, he was aware of no illness-related production pauses at milling facilities. “The Canadian milling industry has enjoyed a high rate of operational continuity throughout the pandemic. It has been very fortunate.”