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Statement on Safety in Cargill’s North American Protein Facilities

July 15, 2020

At Cargill, we take seriously our responsibility to feed the world. As essential workers, our employees are on the frontlines of delivering food to people across our communities amid the COVID-19 crisis.

But during this pandemic, that responsibility must be balanced with our first priority—our employees’ health and safety. Being an essential worker is challenging. We are humbled by the resilience and commitment our employees are demonstrating to deliver millions of meals to families every day.

Keeping people safe is core to our values. When our friends, colleagues and community are impacted by COVID-19, despite implementing best practices to protect our teams, we are heartbroken.

We are consulting health experts and implementing new protocols as they are identified to protect our employees from the community-wide impacts of the virus. Standards are evolving as this virus progresses, and we are continuously learning about new ways to protect employees. In partnership with the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, OSHA and other national and local health officials, we are proactively putting into place the latest available safety protocols appropriate for the contexts in which we operate. We have been clear; we can meet safety standards and Cargill’s high food quality standards.

Our employees are working hard to take care of the basic needs of families around the world, so we are taking extra steps to take care of them. Specifically, in partnership with health and officials, we increased measures designed to provide greater safety and protection for our workers in our North American protein facilities. In addition to protocols already in place, we have implemented the following actions:

  • Developed screening questions prior to entering protein plants which include questions on any illness related symptoms, question on recent travel out of the province and any close contact with someone who has COVID-19
  • Initiated temperature screening in addition to the screening questions each day
  • Prohibited all unnecessary visitors to the facility
  • In addition to already high sanitation standards, we increased sanitation throughout the day in all common areas and office spaces, including additional sanitation each night in these areas as well
  • Increased available space in the break room by utilizing meeting rooms, installing dividers throughout the break rooms and expanding break areas to tents
  • Installed protective barriers on the production floor between employees where possible
  • Provided full face shields for any job where the protective barrier is not possible due to job movement
  • Progressed from encouraging personal face masks to providing them and making their use mandatory

In addition, we have taken further steps to respond to the community-wide impacts of the virus. These include:

  • Reduced the likelihood of carpooling to reduce potential transmission in transit 
  • Limited vehicles with multiple passengers from accessing protein plants to two people per car
  • Provided buses that have been retrofitted with protective barriers between the seats to alleviate the need for carpooling from multiple areas
  • Continued to focus on education and awareness of social distancing inside and outside of work. This includes not sharing food during meals

To recognize the significant contributions of our employees during this challenging time, we also instituted a temporary wage increase.

We put people first. No employee should come to work if they are sick or they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. If they see a practice that does not adhere to our values or these policies, we encourage them to speak with a manager or call our Open Ethics Line. We adopted a “see something, say something” safety culture many years ago to ensure our workplaces are safe for all who enter.

We are committed to keeping our employees safe, feeding the world and ensuring farmers and ranchers have access to markets. Doing all three simultaneously requires tremendous care. Cargill has a 155-year history of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way and our people will continue to carry out that essential work safely. For that, we are unfailingly grateful.