Food company in Leamington is temporarily stepping down production levels after a number of Covid-19 cases were confirmed among its workforce

Shire Foods Ltd, which employs more than 200 people, is working with the authorities to control any spread of the infection

Sunday, 8th November 2020, 4:35 pm
Updated Sunday, 8th November 2020, 4:38 pm

A food manufacturing unit in Leamington said it will temporarily step down production levels after a number of Covid cases were confirmed among its workforce.

Warwickshire County Council is working with Public Health England (PHE) Midlands and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) colleagues to support Shire Foods Ltd in Leamington, which employs about 200 people.

In line with NHS guidance, any affected individuals are self-isolating at home for at least 10 days, with their contacts isolating for 14 days.

Shire Foods Ltd in Leamington.

Dr Mamoona Tahir, consultant in communicable disease control with PHE in the West Midlands, said: “The management at Shire Foods Ltd are cooperating fully with public health professionals and members of the HSE, to protect the health and wellbeing of their workforce.

"We are trying to support businesses wherever we can, and public health partners are working hard to maintain the continued operation of key industries such as food manufacturing, while protecting staff and wider public health.

“We are dealing with a workforce of more than 200 people, but despite a range of infection control measures in place to protect staff from potential exposure to COVID-19, there have been a number of cases among workers.

"As a precautionary measure, we worked with local NHS colleagues to arrange testing for a wider group of the workforce.

"After identifying additional asymptomatic cases, the decision was taken to temporarily step-down production with a reduced workforce over the next nine days, to allow for a ‘firebreak’.”

Nadia Inglis, consultant, Public Health for Warwickshire, said: “We are working at pace with Shire Foods management team to ensure we manage the situation, control any infection spread and then move to safely restore the business to normal procedures.

"We are grateful to the wide range of partners, who have supported this process, with their specialist expertise. We will continue to work to protect the health of the employees at Shire Foods as well as the wider community”.

Michael Tzirki, managing director at Shire Foods Ltd, said: “Following additional testing of the wider workforce, we have decided to reduce our production over the next nine working days to accommodate staff who must self-isolate because they have either tested positive for COVID-19 or who PHE have said may be a contact of a case.

"The move is precautionary, but the safety of our staff is paramount. This will have no effect on customers, as we will continue to supply them as normal from inventory. Production will resume next Thursday and return to normal levels from Thursday November 19.”