Riceland Foods confirmed one Riceland team member has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently home under quarantine. Riceland’s COVID-19 action plan has been implemented at the Stuttgart Rice Division, where the team member worked.
All team members, who were in close proximity, have been informed and sent home for quarantine. The affected work area is undergoing a deep cleaning and sanitation process to disinfect the area. No rice or oil products were impacted.
Riceland President and CEO Danny Kennedy said keeping the company’s employees safe and healthy is the ultimate priority during this time.
“The team has worked cross functionally to take the necessary steps to keep our employees healthy as this virus continues to sweep across the U.S.,” said Kennedy. “As a food manufacturing company, we know how important it is to keep our employees safe so we can continue to serve our customers and consumers during this time of need.”
Riceland Foods, Inc. is part of the critical food supply infrastructure, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, and the cooperative has a special responsibility to maintain a normal work schedule to produce oil and rice products to feed families across Arkansas and the nation. Riceland has taken extraordinary measures to protect team members and the supply chains that are critical to the farmer-owned cooperative’s mission of producing the highest quality oil and rice products in the world.
Employees have been instructed to follow the Centers of Disease Control procedures for protecting themselves and their families from COVID-19. Riceland identified key staff within the organization that must be protected to ensure normal operations. These key staff members have been assigned to work in different Riceland locations, locally and around the state, to minimize the risk of multiple infections in key business units. Riceland facilities are only open for Riceland team members until further notice. Team members have been instructed not to come to work if they have fever or other symptoms of COVID-19.
To maintain normal operations in key business units, flexible work schedules have been implemented to help team members caring for children who are home from school, and Riceland is working with vendors to ensure critical supplies have been secured.
According to an article on April 16, 2020, the FDA released information on how there is no evidence of COVID-19 transmission through human or animal food or food packaging.
“We want to reassure consumers that there is currently no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging being associated with transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This particular coronavirus causes respiratory illness and is spread from person-to-person, unlike foodborne gastrointestinal or GI viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food.”
The cooking process required for the consumption of Riceland oil and rice products eliminates the possibility of virus transfer. The extended time for products to move through the distribution network from packaging to placement on grocery store shelves greatly minimizes the chance of virus transfer from packaging material.
For more information regarding Riceland’s response to COVID-19, please contact Kevin McGilton at 870-673-5520.
Riceland Foods is the world’s largest miller and marketer of rice serving 5,500 farmer members in Arkansas and Missouri. As a farmer-led cooperative, Riceland stores, transports, processes and markets more than 2.5 million metric tons of grain each year, and its products are sold across the United States and in 75 countries. It’s also one of the Mid-South’s major soybean processors. Riceland products include white, brown and parboiled rice, rice bran oil, soybean meal and oil and feed ingredients. Learn more at: Riceland.com.