Citing greater reliability in detecting the fever that could be a sign of the dangerous COVID-19 coronavirus, Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) is using walk-through temperature scanners at three of its facilities it deems most vital to the United States' food supply. The scanners replace hand-held infrared thermometers that have been used up to this point, and check the body temperature of everyone entering the facilities, including both employees and visitors.
According to the company's statement to CNBC, the large infrared scanners provide more accurate data, allowing the company to better keep the coronavirus out of its facilities. The scanners are also much faster than the hand-held units, boosting the speed and efficiency of processing large numbers of personnel every workday.
The three locations where Tyson has set up the new scanners are the ones most important to helping secure and stabilize the U.S. food supply, according to Tom Brower, Tyson's senior vice president of health and safety. One of the plants, located in Nebraska, produces enough processed beef daily to feed approximately 18 million people, by Brower's estimates.
Other companies are already using the scanners or are mulling their use, though not necessarily in the food industry. Goldman Sachs has deployed similar devices, while parcel shipping company UPS is considering installing them at its facilities. The Food & Drug Administration says the devices aren't approved for use in scanning for the coronavirus, but that it is remaining flexible and working to evaluate them.
Tyson recently committed to a $60 million bonus package to raise worker morale and reward effort in the face of the novel coronavirus outbreak, with the bonuses to frontline employees payable in July.