Response to Coronavirus COVID-19 Outbreak – Continuity of Operations
Dear Valued Customer,
Neil Jones Food Company prides itself on being able to deliver safe quality products, on time, and unadulterated to our customers. With that commitment, we’re requesting our suppliers communicate any known or potential supply chain risks associated with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), a brief outline of their business continuity plan, and details of their proactive approach to preventing potential virus transmission. Furthermore, Neil Jones Food Company has taken steps to protect our employees and our ability to provide an uninterrupted supply of our product to our customers.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that there have been no reports that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted through food or food packaging. In general, because of poor survivability of coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures. This information was recently shared by the American Frozen Food Institute.
FDA also stated it is always important to follow good hygiene practices (i.e., wash hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature, and refrigerate foods promptly) when handling or preparing foods. With that said, below are steps we have taken to address the COVID-19 concern:
- We have developed and implemented our COVID-19 Response Plan, which incorporates recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as state and local health authorities.
- We have updated our Business Continuity Plan, incorporating the latest recommendations, and have provided our employees with training regarding COVID-19.
- We have, and continue, to provide multiple training sessions that are specifically focused on disease control to all employees, including proper hand washing techniques and frequency, social distancing, environmental cleaning, and precautions that can be taken at home.
- Screening Procedures for symptoms of COVID-19 have been implemented at each of our facilities for employees and visitors.
- Our supervisors conduct daily health update meetings with all employees to promote reporting any symptoms that may develop. Any employees that report viable symptoms will be sent home immediately.
- Social Distancing is being supported by practices such as:
- Posting signs at key points of our facilities, including but not limited to facility entry points and breakrooms / lunchrooms, which reminds employees, contractors, vendors and visitors to maintain minimum separation of 6 feet wherever possible.
- Altering meeting and training sessions to avoid groups of 10 or more people being in a single room, and scheduling these sessions in locations to provide proper distance between participants.
- Staggering start times of shifts.
- Staggering break and lunch times in order to support the 6 feet distance between people.
- Avoiding handshaking or other intimate types of greetings
- Avoiding non-essential travel
- If we see a rise in absenteeism due to any disease, many of our office employees have the ability to work from home. We will not wait DNA results to take action. Currently, DNA confirmation testing is the only way to know for certain that we are dealing with COVID-19.
- Routine cleaning of all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs is conducted using disinfectant chemicals that are effective against SARSCoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Notifications regarding environmental cleaning of these areas is posted.
- We have verified that our domestic and international suppliers have business continuity plans in place to ensure that NJFCO will not face an interruption in supply of critical materials. To date, we have not identified any issues of concern within our packaging supply chain.
In summary, be assured that Neil Jones Food Company is taking this potential threat to our business and your supply chain seriously, and will continue to address this situation according to the latest recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and other authorities.
Director of Quality and Food Safety
Neil Jones Food Co.