LENOIR CITY, Tenn. — UPDATE NOON MONDAY: After mass testing of employees and contractors Friday at its Loudon County facility, one additional person has tested positive for COVID-19, a Wampler's Farm Sausage official said Monday.
“We are doing everything we can to allow and empower our people to follow CDC guidelines while at our facility. We are also encouraging our employees to take personal responsibility further and follow the guidelines while away from work as well," a statement from Ted Wampler Jr., president and CEO, reads.
Testing was conducted by the Loudon County Health Department after one employee was found to be positive May 7. That employee was asymptomatic.
Both employees with positive test results are quarantining at home with pay and will be allowed to return to work once cleared by a doctor, according to spokesman Martha Wampler Behm.
According to Ted Wampler, the two employees who tested positive work in separate departments and "have no interaction at work.
"The fact that currently no other employees in those two departments are positive shows that our people are taking personal responsibility and following proper guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while at work.”
The virus does not spread through food. The company said its products are safe for consumption.
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According to Martha Wampler Behm, the employee was diagnosed on May 7 and was asymptomatic. That employee won't be returning to work until they are cleared, and any employee who feels they are high risk has been allowed to go home.
Behm said the company has implemented new break schedules to further distance our employees and they will begin regular temperature checks as soon as the thermometers arrive.
They have made face masks mandatory and taking extra lengths to make sure break rooms, offices, restroom facilities and other frequently touched areas are sanitized regularly, Behm said.
Wampler produces and distributes sausage and pork products across the country.
Behm assured that Wampler products are safe for consumers.
"We operate under robust sanitation and personnel hygiene policies now and before COVID-19. Each night, production areas and equipment undergo rigorous sanitation procedures, inspected and validated via microbiological testing before production begins each day. During production, our products undergo multiple hurdles to assure only wholesome pork products are received by our customers. In other words, our food production areas were already sanitized daily," said said.
"We will continue to make quality sausage and pork products to feed American families and support American farmers. These are challenging times, and businesses like ours are the backbone of America and crucial to our nation’s food supply."