Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Hormel Claims It Has Kept COVID-19 Infections Below 3% at One Facility

By Rhian Hunt – Jun 8, 2020 at 4:00PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The company’s experience is quite different from other meatpackers.

As meatpacking plants across the United States continue to be epicenters for local coronavirus outbreaks, Hormel Foods (HRL -1.26%) claims it may have found a fairly successfully formula for fighting the virus' spread in its facilities. The initiative, dubbed "Keep COVID Out," is said to have limited infections at the company's Austin, Minnesota, plant to 50 people out of a workforce of approximately 1,800 thus far -- around 2.7%.

The figure represents a massive difference compared to other meatpackers' experiences. In one recent example, the coronavirus infected 22%, or 555, of the workers at Tyson Foods' (TSN -1.22%) Storm Lake, Iowa, plant. Crowded working conditions at meatpacking facilities, combined with low temperatures that ease the virus' spread and survival, are likely major factors in such outbreaks.

A person wearing a mask has his temperature checked.

Image source: Getty Images.

Hormel spokesman Rick Williamson said the company is "making sure we're doing everything we can to have our employees be very top of the mind in terms of everything they are doing outside the plant to keep out plant as safe as possible." Hormel scans the temperatures of workers not only on arrival, but also on departure, their method of doubling the chances of catching infections early and preventing community spread.

Other measures include workers clocking in through a staggered sequence over four hours, greatly reducing contact on sign-in. All high-touch surfaces are heavily disinfected between shifts. All employees currently wear face masks.

The safety measures were in place as early as April. At that time, Austin plant manager Clint Walters described how work areas are "partitioned off with what we call our Plexiglas or plastic dividers between areas where specifically they can't create social distance on the line. Now you have multi-layers of protection when you come into work each and every day."

Rhian Hunt has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Hormel Foods Stock Quote
Hormel Foods
HRL
$46.31 (-1.26%) $0.59
Tyson Foods Stock Quote
Tyson Foods
TSN
$66.64 (-1.22%) $0.82

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
342%
 
S&P 500 Returns
110%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 10/05/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.