Powder & Bulk Solids Coronavirus Coverage Hub

April 15, 2020

35 Min Read
Powder & Bulk Solids Coronavirus Coverage Hub
Powder & Bulk Solids editors assembled this collection of COVID-19 related articles to help keep you on top of the latest developments. Image courtesy of Pixabay

From plant shutdowns to supply chain interruptions, manufacturing firms have a lot on their plates during novel coronavirus crisis. As facilities around the world grapple with the impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Powder & Bulk Solids editors have complied this list of our COVID-19-related coverage to help your operation stay on top of the latest developments.

April 27, 2020

Vortex Assists Local Healthcare Workers in COVID-19 Fight
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees at Vortex designed and produced cleanable, and reusable, face shields for the local hospital, Salina Regional Health Center.

ADM Halts Work at 2 Corn Dry Mills Amid COVID-19 Crisis
Citing a “challenging operating environment” created by the COVID-19 pandemic, American agribusiness Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is temporarily halting production at its corn dry mill plants in Cedar Rapids, IA and Columbus, NE and furloughing 90 workers at the sites.

Hershey Spends $1M to Open Mask Manufacturing Line
American chocolate manufacturer Hershey Company is kicking off a $1 million project to purchase and install a new manufacturing line for face masks in response to a nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

US Issues COVID-19 Safety Guidance for Meat Processors
The US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released joint coronavirus-related interim guidance for meatpacking and meat processing workers and employers – including those involved in beef, pork and poultry operations.

April 24, 2020

ExxonMobil Reworks Louisiana Plant to Produce Sanitizer
American energy and chemicals firm ExxonMobil is adding production capabilities for medical grade sanitizer at its Baton Rouge, LA plant to support healthcare workers and first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 23, 2020

COVID-19 Crisis Leads Hershey to Withdraw 2020 Outlook
American chocolate manufacturer The Hershey Company withdrew its full year financial outlook for fiscal year 2020 in April as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic creates instability in the global food and beverage market.

Report: 89% of Food Manufacturers Use Social Distancing
A new survey of US food and beverage professionals published in April by Clear Seas Research indicates that social distancing is the leading protective action in use to combat the spread of the coronavirus.  

Tyson to Close Indiana Plant Due to COVID-19 Infections
American protein company Tyson Foods is voluntarily shuttering its Tyson Fresh Meats meat processing plant in Logansport, IN for two weeks after a number of facility’s workers became infected with COVID-19.

April 22, 2020

2 COVID-19 Cases Found at Kraft Heinz Plant in Michigan
American food manufacturer Kraft Heinz briefly closed its production plant in Holland, MI for cleaning after two workers became infected with COVID-19.

Tyson "Indefinitely" Halts Work at Iowa Pork Plant
Tyson Fresh Meats pork plant in Waterloo, IA “indefinitely" suspended operations” in April after over 100 COVID-19 cases were connected to the facility.

SC Johnson to Produce Hand Sanitizer at Wisconsin Plant
Consumer and professional cleaning and disinfecting products manufacturer SC Johnson is retooling a line at its Mount Pleasant, WI manufacturing plant to add new capacity for hand sanitizers.

April 21, 2020

Bunting Supports Food Industry DUring COVID-19 Pandemic
Learn how Bunting’s magnetic separation, metal detection, and conveying equipment keeps essential businesses such as food processing, plastics production, and the manufacture of medical technology operating smoothly.

PPE Shortage Creates Dust Inhalation Risk in Food Plants
Great Britain’s occupational safety regulator The Health and Safety Executive published a letter in April alerting British bakeries and food factories that a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), including dust masks and respirators, during the COVID-19 pandemic may increase workers’ exposure to flour dust. 

Tyson Restarts Iowa Pork Plant after COVID-19 Shutdown
Tyson Fresh Meats restarted some of its operations at its Columbus Junction, IA pork plant in late April following a two-week shutdown. The company temporarily closed the site after dozens of workers became infected with COVID-19.

COVID-19 Cases Force Closure of 2 Hormel-Owned Plants
Two plants in Illinois and Kansas operated by Hormel Foods subsidiaries have been temporarily shuttered after a number of workers at the facilities tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

April 20, 2020

DEKRA Warns of Fire Hazards in Hand Sanitizer Production
DEKRA North America (NA) is warning of the fire risks associated with making hand sanitizer.

Industry Orgs. Warn US that CO2 Shortage May Be Looming
Leaders of the Compressed Gas Association (CGA) and several major food and beverage trade groups recently sent a letter to US Vice President Mike Pence warning the federal government of a potential shortage of carbon dioxide (CO2) created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chemical Industry Faces Uncertainty Due to COVID-19
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) released an abbreviated, interim update to its Chemical Industry Situation and Outlook on Friday that offers two scenarios intended to capture a range of potential trajectories for the global and US economies and the chemical industry because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Johns Manville Manufactures Nonwoven Media for Masks
Bedding and specialty products manufacturer Johns Manville announced in April that it has started production of nonwoven media for face masks used in the fight against COVID-19 at its Richland, MS factory.

Tyson Outlines COVID-19 Safety Measures for Facilities
As several of its plants are temporarily shuttered and concerns about employee safety are mounting due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, American protein products manufacturer Tyson Foods released a video in April outlining the measures it is taking to protect its workers from COVID-19.  

April 17, 2020

Calculator Helps Manufacturers Determine PPE Burn Rate
A new resource released in April by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) helps hospitals and non-healthcare facilities, including manufacturing plants, to determine how fast they are running through their supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

N95 Mask Production Underway at Honeywell Plant in RI
American industrial technology firm Honeywell announced Friday that production of N95 respirators has commenced at its Smithfield, RI manufacturing facility. Products made at the site will be sent to the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services for the National Strategic Stockpile.

COVID-19 Forces Barry Callebaut to Look for Liquidity
The biggest cocoa processing firm in the world is looking to boost its liquidity as global markets hang in the balance during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In a release of its half-year results for the fiscal year 2019/2020, Barry Callebaut said it is tapping into its credit facility as a safeguard from potential financial turbulence in the months ahead.

Energy Firm POET Manufacturing Ethanol-Based Sanitizer
Biofuels producer POET has started to manufacture all-natural ethanol-based sanitizer at its Chancellor, SD biorefinery in response to a shortage of sanitizer products that was created by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Good Faith" Compliance Efforts Considered in Pandemic
Safety and health officers with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) received interim guidance in mid-April instructing them to assess employers’ “good faith efforts” in health and safety standard compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Machine Fire at Cascade Tissue Plant in Pennsylvania
Firefighters responded to the Cascade Tissue plant in Clarks Summit, PA in April after a fire ignited inside of the facility. The fire department told ABC News affiliate WNEP that the blaze started when material under a machine ignited.

April 16, 2020

OSHA Issues Alert to Manufacturers on COVID-19 Safety
The US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an alert listing safety tips employers can follow to help protect manufacturing workers from exposure to coronavirus.

US Relaxes Agriculture Employment Rules during Pandemic
The Department of Homeland Security, with the support of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), has announced a temporary final rule to change certain H-2A requirements to help US agricultural employers avoid disruptions in lawful agricultural-related employment, protect the nation’s food supply chain, and lessen impacts from the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.

Coronavirus Claims Lives of 2 Tyson Plant Workers
American food firm Tyson Foods confirmed mid-month that two workers from its meat plant in Columbus Junction, IA have died as a result of COVID-19 infections. Tyson temporarily closed the Columbus Junction plant on April 6 after more than 24 workers at the site tested positive for the virus. 

Exxon Increases Output of Key Raw Materials Used in PPE
Oil and gas firm ExxonMobil is working to increase its capacity for certain raw ingredients used to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizer in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

April 14, 2020

38 COVID-19 Cases at Cargill Meat Solutions Plant
American agribusiness Cargill is making some operational changes at its Cargill Meat Solutions plant in High River, AB after a union representing employees at the facility announced that 38 workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at the site. The labor union representing workers at the High River facility recently asked Cargill to shutter the facility for two weeks to assess safety hazards, guarantee full salaries for workers during the temporary pause in operations, and meet with union representatives, officials, and experts to determine appropriate health and safety rules. 

OSHA Issues Enforcement Guidiance for COVID-19 Pandemic
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced an interim enforcement response plan for handling coronavirus-related complaints, referrals, and severe illness reports.

3M Forms Partnership to Boost Respirator Filter Output
Industrial products manufacturer 3M announced the formation of a new partnership with engines, filtration, and power generation products manufacturer Cummins that aims to expand production of filters for powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs). The company said the move is in response to an uptick in demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 13, 2020

OSHA Releases Illness Recordkeeping Guidelines for COVID-19
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued interim guidance for enforcing OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements (29 CFR Part 1904) as it relates to recording cases of COVID-19. Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 under certain circumstances.

Scotts Miracle-Gro to Produce PPE at California Plant
Lawn and garden care products firm Scotts Miracle-Gro has converted its Temecula, CA manufacturing facility to produce face shields used by healthcare workers treating patients with COVID-19. An initial run of 9000 face shields is being donated to hospital workers and police officers in Temecula, the County of Nassau in New York, and New York State. The company said it intends to continue the production of face shields across the US during the pandemic. 

LANXESS Donates Powdered Disinfectant to Fight COVID-19
German specialty chemicals firm LANXESS is giving 10 mt of its Rely+On Virkon powdered disinfectant to healthcare workers, public institutions, and authorities in 13 countries impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Over 200 COVID Cases Force Smithfield to Close Plant
Smithfield Foods announced that it will indefinitely close its Sioux Falls, SD plant for three days due to the fact that more than 200 employees had tested positive for coronavirus. The company also announced that "essential employees" will clean and sanitize the plant during the closure, as well as install additional physical barriers to further enhance social distancing.

April 9, 2020

Impact of COVID-19 on Members Headlines AEM Board Agenda
Addressing the impact of COVID-19 on Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) members and the association's goals was the primary focus of the March 25 meeting of the AEM Board of Directors, held via teleconference. An open forum discussion held during the call gave the Board input on areas for taking action and providing assistance for AEM members in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on that guidance, AEM is now continuing, enhancing, and adding activities and communications to support its members and the industry as a whole.

Nestle Canada Provides $2M in Food Donations
Nestlé Canada is providing more than $2 million in food donations to Food Banks Canada to help feed families and communities impacted by COVID-19. The company will provide much-needed financial support and product donations including bottled water, baby/infant food, confections, and pet food to support local shelters.

April 8, 2020

Harmonite Maker RSS Designated as "Essential" During Pandemic
The maker of Harmonite composite powder, RSS LLC, announced that it has received designation as an Essential Critical Infrastructure Industry within the U.S. chemical industry, and is exempt from the Georgia governor’s ‘Shelter In Place’ order, dated April 2, 2020. The company said it has implemented best practices in both of its manufacturing plants and its offices to hinder the spread of the novel coronavirus, including social distancing, restricting access to facilities, eliminating non-essential travel, and additional disinfecting and sanitation practices. 

Flavors Firm Firmenich Ups Hand Sanitizer Capacity
Flavors and fragrances manufacturer Firmenich is working to increase its capacity for hand sanitizers to 100 tn. The increased production volume will support hospitals, healthcare services, and emergency agencies in the US and Switzerland involved in the fight against COVID-19. 

Cargill Shutters PA Meat Plant Due to COVID-19 Cases
American agribusiness Cargill temporarily suspended work at its meat processing plant in Hazelton, PA after an unknown number of workers became infected with COVID-19.

OSHA to Protect Workers Who Report Unsafe Conditions
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a statement to remind employers that retaliation – including terminations, demotions, denials of overtime or promotion, or reductions in pay or hours – against workers who call out unsafe working conditions during the COVID-19 crisis is illegal. 

April 7, 2020

US Firms Hired 8K Warehouse and Storage Workers in March
Many Americans are facing unemployment as certain industries, like restaurants and travel, suffer from the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic, there are some areas of the US economy where hiring has increased. About 8,200 warehousing and storage workers were hired by American companies during March, according to data recently released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 

3M, Trump Admin. Reveal Plan to Boost N-95 Mask Imports
Industrial firm 3M is collaborating with the Trump administration to increase the availability of N-95 respirators in the US by importing 166.5 million of the masks over the next three months. he move comes after President Trump recently criticized 3M’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic and attempted to block the company from exporting some of the products to other countries battling the virus.

BASF Reconfigures Plants to Produce Hand Sanitizer
German chemicals and materials firm BASF is reconfiguring several of its Personal Care production facilities in Europe to manufacture hand sanitizers in response to increased demand created by the COVID-19 pandemic. A BASF Personal Care facility in Dusseldorf, Germany has produced and donated some 13,000 liters of hand sanitizer and plans to manufacture an additional 23,000 liters of the product for local medical institutions. BASF said similar efforts are underway in Spain, France, and Italy. 

Agribusiness Bunge Commits $2.5M to Fight Coronavirus
American agribusiness Bunge announced plans to provide $2.5 million in funding for programs that aim to relieve health and hunger issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Coronavirus Case ID'd at Kraft Heinz Plant in Iowa
American food manufacturer The Kraft Heinz Company confirmed that one worker at its Cedar Rapids, IA production plant is infected with COVID-19. The company said that it is contacting others that may have been in contact with the infected worker. 

4 COVID-19 Cases Uncovered at ADM Corn Processing Plant
Four workers at a corn processing plant in Clinton, IA operated by American agribusiness Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) have contracted COVID-19. In response, ADM said it is taking steps to isolate the infected workers and improve the safety of its facility.

April 6, 2020

OSHA Releases COVID-19 Infection Prevention Poster
The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a new poster that highlights 10 ways employers can protect workers from health and safety hazards during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tyson Closes Iowa Pork Plant Due to COVID-19 Infections
American food firm Tyson Foods Inc. halted work at its pork processing plant in Columbus Junction, IA after over 24 workers there became infected with COVID-19.

Huntsman to Make Hand Sanitizer at Alabama Plant
American chemicals firm Huntsman Corporation announced that its McIntosh, AL specialty chemicals plant has started producing hand sanitizer after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put out temporary guidelines allowing the company to manufacture the products there. The company intends to donate the first 5 tn of product to workers treating patiens with COVID-19 at the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and affiliated University of Utah medical facilities. 

April 3, 2020

84% of US Impacted by Shortages of High-Demand CPG
At the end of March 84% of Americans said they have been impacted by shortages of high-demand consumer packaged goods (CPG) compared to 37% during the first week the month, according to the results of a series of surveys conducted by the Consumer Brands Association (CBA). 

OSHA Issues Guidance to Counter N95 Respirator Shortages
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued interim enforcement guidance to help combat supply shortages of disposable N95 filtering face piece respirators (N95 FFRs).

April 2, 2020

Study: 2,755 US Plants Can Make Goods to Fight COVID-19
A study recently conducted by Moody’s-affiliated market intelligence firm Four Twenty Seven identified 2,755 manufacturing plants in the US that could be deployed to produce personal protective equipment like respirators and face masks and other medical equipment such as ventilators that are used in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

Berry Invests in Meltblown Asset to Help Combat COVID-19
Plastic packaging and nonwoven fabrics firm Berry Global Group Inc. said that it is making an investment in a new specialty meltblown asset that will be deployed to manufacture high-efficiency filtration media used in applications like N95 and N99 industrial respirators and face masks and cabin air filters. The new capacity will serve the EMEIA markets. 

General Mills Taps Office Workers to Work in Plants
American food manufacturer General Mills is putting a number of measures in place to extend support to its workers and the communities it operates in, including asking employees at its corporate offices to temporarily work in its production facilities. The move comes as food and beverage companies are under increasing strain to meet increased demand created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tyson Foods to Provide $60M for Frontline Workers
Tyson Foods Inc. will pay approximately $60 million in “thank you” bonuses to 116,000 frontline workers and Tyson truckers in the US who support the company’s operations every day to provide food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 1, 2020

Tecweigh Issues Statement on COVID-19 Response
Technetics Industries Inc., also known as Tecweigh, released a statement on its response to the novel coronavirus crisis outlining its commitment to continuing to provide its services without disruption. The company said its operations are fully operational and its sales and engineering teams are being encouraged to work remotely, when possible.

Del Monte Appoints New Supply Chain Leader
Food products manufacturer Del Monte Foods Inc. appointed Ashish Mallick as senior vice president and chief supply chain officer. The addition to the firm's leadership team comes at a time when sales of canned foods are spiking due to the on-going COVID-19 crisis. 

Fire at P&G Toilet Paper Plant in California
Firefighters responded to a blaze that ignited inside the Procter & Gamble (P&G) paper products plant in Oxnard, CA. Production recently increased at the Oxnard site, which manufactures Bounty brand paper towels and Charmin toilet paper,in response to an uptick in demand during the novel coronavirus crisis.

Possible COVID-19 Case at General Mills Plant in Iowa
American food firm General Mills confirmed that a worker at its Cedar Rapids, IA manufacturing plant is possibly infected with the novel coronavirus in early April. After the worker became ill, the company started intensifying its cleaning processes in the plant and encouraged workers to practice social distancing.

March 31, 2020

ROSS COVID-19 Statement to Customers and Associates
Process equipment firm ROSS issued a statement that its US companies remain in operation and it will continue to serve its customers in food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, defence and other "essential" industries. 

Coons: US Must Update, Expand Vaccine Manufacturing
US Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is highlighting the urgent need to update and expand our domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity, including at four federally funded vaccine development and manufacturing sites, to confront COVID-19.

Chemical Activity Barometer Falls Sharply in March
The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), fell 2.6% in March on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis following a downwardly revised 0.1% gain in February. On a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the barometer fell 1.3% in March.

March 30, 2020

COVID-19 Case Forces Lamb Weston to Close Plant
Potato processing company Lamb Weston has temporarily stopped work at its French fry production plant in Pasco, WA because a worker at the facility tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Perdue Halts Work at Plant After COVID-19 Cases Emerge
Meat processor Perdue Farms temporarily stopped operations at its Milford, DE poultry plant after two employees contracted the novel coronavirus COVID-19. During the closure, the company disinfected the facility and put several new procedures in place to protect workers and its products. 

Agribusiness ADM Pledges $1M for Orgs. Fighting COVID-19
American agribusiness Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is giving $1 million to several organizations that are working to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Funds will go to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and a number of local and regional charities in areas that ADM operates in. 

Dow to Increase Hand Sanitizer Output at Several Sites
American chemicals and materials firm Dow is working to increase production of hand sanitizer across five manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe, and Latin America as demand for the products skyrockets during the COVID-19 crisis. Manufacturing plants in Auburn, MI, South Charleston, WV, Seneffe, Belgium, and Hortolândia, Brazil were selected to produce hand sanitizer because of their existing raw material handling, mixing, and packaging assets.

Kraft Cleans Warehouse After COVID-19 Cases Reported
American food firm Kraft Heinz said it briefly shuttered its warehouse in Springfield, MO for a two-day period of deep cleaning after two workers at the site tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The facility in Springfield produces Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and the Kraft and Cracker Barrel brands of natural cheese, according to a 2015 article by the Springfield News-Leader.

March 27, 2020

Conagra to Give Plant Workers Bonus for COVID-19 Work
American food firm Conagra Brands Inc. is giving a cash bonus to its production and distribution workers who work across 50 facilities in the US, Canada, and Mexico for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full time workers are slated to receive a $500 bonus, while part time workers will get $250.

Worker Tests Positive for COVID-19 at Quaker Oats Plant
American food and beverage firm PepsiCo North America said that a staff member at its Quaker Oats production plant in Cedar Rapids, IA tested positive for the novel coronavirus. PepsiCo said that it is cleaning several sections of the plant and halting operations on several lines.

INEOS Aims to Build Hand Sanitizer Plants in 10 Days 
Chemical manufacturing firm INEOS revealed plans in late March to construct a new two new production facilities for hand sanitizer in Europe within 10 days in response to a shortage of the product that was created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Once operational, the facilities will each produce 1 million bottles of hand sanitizers per month. 

March 26, 2020

Nestle Partners with Health Org. to Respond to COVID-19
Swiss food and beverage giant Nestle announced a new partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to provide the health organization support as its responds to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Low Demand Leads The Andersons to Idle Ethanol Plants
As the novel coronavirus outbreak causes demand for ethanol to decline, American agribusiness The Andersons said that it plans to idle its ELEMENT ethanol plant in Colwich, KS for maintenance and repairs, and extend the length of spring maintenance shutdowns at four ethanol facilities owned by the joint venture The Andersons Marathon Holdings LLC (TAMH).  

Honeywell Expands N95 Respirator Production at RI Plant
American industrial technology firm Honeywell said it is working to increase production of N95 respirators and UVEX safety glasses in the US with an expansion of its manufacturing facility in Smithfield, RI. As part of the effort, Honeywell also plans to hire 500 workers. 

Frito-Lay Halts Work at CA Plant Due to COVID-19 Fears
Snack maker Frito-Lay temporarily stopped work at its plant in Modesto, CA in late March after several workers developed symptoms of COVID-19 and were self-quarantined. Operations were paused to allow the company to deep clean the facility.

March 25, 2020

4 Test Positive for Coronavirus at BASF Plant in US
Four people who work at the BASF plant in Geismar, LA tested positive for the novel coronavirus in late March. After the workers tested positive, the company cleaned areas of the plant where the workers had been and implemented several health policies, including taking workers’ temperatures.

J.M. Smucker Takes Steps to Protect Staff from COVID-19
American food firm J.M. Smucker Company announced that it is implementing a series of measures to protect its workforce and the communities it operates in from the impacts of COVID-19. The company said it is screening workers’ temperatures across its locations and started using extensive sanitation procedures to prevent the virus from spreading.

Cargill Gives Disinfecting Alcohol to Dutch Government
American agribusiness Cargill is donating 60,000 liters of disinfecting alcohol to the Dutch government’s Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport (VWS) to distribute to hospitals and other healthcare facilities in the Netherlands to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 Safety Concerns Prompt Walkout at Perdue Plant
About 50 workers at the Perdue Farms poultry plant in Kathleen, GA staged a walkout in March in response to growing concerns about the safety of employees in the facility during the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

4 Test Positive for COVID-19 at Dow Plant in Louisiana
Four workers at Dow's petrochemical plant in Plaquemine, LA tested positive for the novel coronavirus in late March. In response, the company said it made several safety-oriented changes at the site, including restrictions on visitors, serving to-go box lunches at the plant’s cafeteria, and monitoring workers’ temperatures as they enter the facility.

March 24, 2020

Flexicon Granted Waiver as Supplier to Essential Industries
Bethlehem, PA-based Flexicon Corporation has been granted a waiver by the State of Pennsylvania to continue operating during the COVID-19 outbreak due to its role in the supply chain for life-sustaining businesses, the firm’s president, David Gill, announced. Flexicon customers producing essential products operate in the food, spice, beverage, pharmaceutical, soap/cleanser, paper, plastics/rubber and chemical industries.

Dow Shifts Production Processes to Produce Sanitizer
American chemicals and materials firm Dow is altering its production processes to facilitate the production of hand sanitizer at a US facility and a plant in Stade, Germany. The company does not traditionally produce hand sanitizer. Dow said it selected Stade because of its existing raw material handling, mixing, and bulk packaging equipment could be shifted to hand sanitizer production.

March 23, 2020

3M Ups N95 Respirator Production Amid COVID-19 Crisis
The top executive of 3M said in a statement that the company has doubled its capacity for N95 respirators to about 1.1 billion products per year, or about 100 million per month, in response to increased demand from healthcare workers on the front lines of the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

Cornell Debuts COVID-19 Website for Food Manufacturers
Cornell University’s Institute for Food Safety has launched a new website, Food Industry Resources for Coronavirus (COVID-19), that aims to provide comprehensive practical safety information for food processing plants that are continuing to operate during the outbreak.

DuPont Boosting Capacity for Tyvek to Fight COVID-19
American materials and ingredients firm DuPont is working to increase production of Tyvek, a material used in protective garments worn by healthcare workers to treat patients with the novel coronavirus COVID-19, at nine DuPont Safety plants across its global footprint.

March 20, 2020

Milling Industry Committed to Keeping Flour Available
The North American Millers’ Association (NAMA), a trade group representing the wheat, corn, oat, and rye milling industries, released a statement expressing the commitment of its member companies to keeping the flour supply chain running during the COVID-19 outbreak. Milling companies are implementing social distancing, providing additional health screenings, using additional safety gear and products, including masks, respirators, and sanitizers. Beyond that, NAMA members are also cleaning, deep cleaning, and using anti-viral cleansers more frequently.

FDA Halts Facility Inspections as COVID-19 Spreads in US
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed plans in March to temporarily halt routine surveillance inspections at domestic facilities to protect the health of its staff as the novel coronavirus COVID-19 spreads across America. However, the agency said it will still conduct for-cause inspections in the US if it is “mission-critical,” and continue to provide assistance in natural disasters, outbreaks, and other public health emergencies that relate to FDA-regulated products.

March 19, 2020

Trade Groups Press US Officials to Keep Plants Open
About 60 industry associations – including the Consumer Brands Association (CBA), American Bakers Association, and the American Sugar Alliance – published a letter asking federal, state, and local officials in the US to exempt workers at food, beverage, and consumer packaged goods production facilities from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines limiting gatherings of people. 

Del Monte Foods Names New Chief Customer Officer
As sales of canned goods spike in the US and elsewhere during the COVID-19 crisis, Del Monte Foods is appointing David Stis as Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. 

March 18, 2020

BASF Delays Annual Shareholders' Meeting Due to COVID-19
German firm BASF is rescheduling its annual shareholders' meeting as the novel coronavirus continues to spread in Germany. Originally planned for April 30 at the Rosengarten Congress Center, BASF said it will now hold the meeting some time before June 30, 2020. 

March 17, 2020

Toilet Paper Maker GP Limits Access to Plants
Moving to safeguard its operations amid the COVID-19 crisis, toilet paper manufacturer Georgia-Pacific (GP) said in statement that it is limiting access to its production operations to only essential workers, contractors, and vendors. Demand for GP’s toilet paper products doubled after American consumers began clearing out nearly all available toilet paper from shelves in supermarkets and big box stores over the first few weeks of March.

USDA Working with Private Sector in Response to COVID-19
US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced new contacts to encourage communication with USDA in mid March to help feed kids and ensure the United States food supply chain remains strong in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

USDA Ensures Food Safety During COVID-19 Outbreak
USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach and USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Mindy Brashears sent a letter to stakeholders in mid March reassuring them that APHIS, AMS, and FSIS are rising to meet the challenges associated with COVID-19.

ExxonMobil Looks to Cut Operating Costs Due to COVID-19
Oil and gas firm ExxonMobil said that it is examining ways to “significantly reduce spending” as the COVID-19 pandemic rocks global markets and pushes commodity prices down. The Irving, TX-based company said it has altered its operations to provide a healthy work environment to its employees and support the communities where ExxonMobil has facilities. 

March 12, 2020

Sec. Perdue Issues Statement on Trump's COVID-19 Speech
US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued this statement following President Donald J. Trump’s address to the nation regarding COVID-19.

March 9, 2020

OSHA Issues Guidance on Coronavirus in Workplaces
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a document that provides companies with guidance on how to respond to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in American workplaces.

March 6, 2020

Coronavirus Fears Spark Uptick in Powdered Milk Sales
Retailers in the US are seeing an increase in powdered milk sales as Americans stockpile supplies in response to growing concerns about the coronavirus.

March 4, 2020

5 Ways Food & Bev Firms are Fighting the Coronavirus
Powder & Bulk Solids editors compiled this list of five ways that top food and beverage firms are working to fight the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak as the novel coronavirus COVID-19 spreads across the globe.

March 2, 2020

Coronavirus Threatens Global Food & Beverage Industry
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing massive financial and operational headwinds for food and beverage companies operating inside China and beyond. Cargill, Mondelez International, the Coca-Cola Co., and other of the top manufacturers are scrambling to protect their workers, safeguard their supply chains, and adjusting earnings estimates as COVID-19 spreads. 

February 25, 2020

Coronavirus Update: FDA Ensuring Quality of Foreign Products
FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., and Judy McMeekin, Pharm.D., acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs commissioner of food and drugs, FDA issued a statement to provide information on the status of FDA inspections in China and the agency’s oversight of imported products from China.

February 20, 2020

How the Coronavirus is Impacting Chemical Companies
Powder & Bulk Solids created a timeline to show how some major chemical companies have responded to the outbreak so far. 

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