Poultry processor Ingham's is reviewing its supply sourcing options from interstate as two Victorian chicken meat processing facilities at Somerville and Thomastown prepare to scale back operations for six weeks.
The company's Thomastown further processing plant has only just re-opened this week following a two-week shutdown after staff at the site tested positive for COVID-19.
Ingham's managing director Jim Leighton said the latest restrictions as part of the state's level four coronavirus lockdown would not apply to other plants and facilities in the company's supply chain, including Victorian hatcheries, farms and feed mills.
"We are currently advised the restrictions will apply a 33 per cent reduction in the workforce from peak production staffing levels at any one time, as well as some additional safety initiatives," he said.
The restrictions on Victorian abattoir staff numbers commence on August 7.
Ingham's management was working through the implications for the reduced workforce at its Victorian processing sites, looking to minimise the impact by redirecting chickens to sites elsewhere around Australia.
It also noted there was inventory on hand.
"We are reviewing our operational plans at each of our Australian plants and continue to work with customers in order to best meet their requirements," Mr Leighton said.
Ingham's other primary and further processing plants in Australia and New Zealand remained operational and continued to apply extensive employee safety and welfare protocols since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are reviewing our operational plans at each of our Australian plants and continue to work with customers in order to best meet their requirements," he said.
"The measures announced in Victoria will require our team to manage more complexity, but we are unwavering in our objectives of ensuring the health and safety of our people, preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our facilities and ensuring the highest standards of animal welfare, and servicing our customers and consumers in Australia and New Zealand".
The financial impact of the Victorian restrictions would be better understood as the company realigned operations in the next few weeks and the lockdown's impact on supply and customer and consumer demand was better understood.
Ingham's Group releases its annual results on August 21 and will provide more detail on the changes and business impact in Victoria.
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The story Ingham's poultry processing operations plucked by Victorian virus lockdown first appeared on Farm Online.