California poultry producer partners with Save Mart Pharmacy to vaccinate an additional 1,000 essential workers
Foster Farms provided an additional 1,000 of its essential agricultural employees COVID-19 vaccines at the company's Livingston, California, poultry facility on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.
LIVINGSTON, California, March 02, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, West Coast poultry leader Foster Farms is providing on site vaccinations for 1,000 employees at its Livingston, California, poultry facility in Merced County. Conducted in partnership with the Merced County Department of Public Health and Save Mart Pharmacy, the vaccination program continues Foster Farms’ large-scale effort to vaccinate its California workforce, which began in early February at the company’s Fresno Cherry Avenue facility.
Employee health and welfare is Foster Farms’ highest priority. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Foster Farms has implemented a comprehensive set of workplace mitigations in adherence with CDC and local health department guidance. The company’s COVID-19 employee testing program is one of the most extensive in California, having administered more than 130,000 COVID-19 tests in the last six months. Testing results have consistently shown COVID-19 prevalence levels of 1% or less. While these steps are effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19, vaccination provides the greatest form of worker protection. Foster Farms hopes its employee vaccine program will serve as a model for the entire California food processing industry.
Along with adults over 50, healthcare workers, emergency services, education and childcare workers, the state of California and Merced County have prioritized the vaccination of agricultural workers, recognizing the essential role they play in bringing food to millions of California families. Foster Farms has worked closely with federal, state and county leaders in the interest of employee health and welfare since the onset of the pandemic. The Livingston processing plant vaccination program is the result of that continued collaboration.
“Foster Farms is focusing its resources to ensure that the vaccination program is successfully carried out with a high level of employee participation. We are committed to expanding vaccinations as soon as greater supply becomes available,” said Ira Brill, Foster Farms Vice President of Communications. “We owe it to the people that selflessly keep food on all of our tables to ensure they are vaccinated as rapidly as possible.”
Foster Farms is partnering with Save Mart Pharmacy to oversee administration of this latest round of vaccines. Vaccination is voluntary and will be offered to employees on site at no cost. Foster Farms will compensate employees for time spent during the vaccination process. Foster Farms has engaged in a multilingual employee communication program to answer questions about the vaccine and encourage participation.
The Pfizer vaccine will be administered to Livingston employees in two doses. Foster Farms expects to complete the initial dose in Livingston on March 5 and will administer the second dose in late March. Foster Farms will track employee participation in the program to ensure that dosage periodicity requirements are met. Vaccines will be administered on site by trained staff of Save Mart Pharmacy under the supervision of a registered nurse. Save Mart Pharmacy is certified as a COVID-19 vaccine provider by the CDC, the state of California and Merced County.
Foster Farms joins the CDC and Merced County Public Health Department in reiterating that vaccination is not a substitute for the continued need to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and observe all other protocols necessary to defeat COVID-19. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine in Merced County, please visit vaccinatemercedcounty.com, the state vaccination dashboard, or new CDC VaccineFinder portal.
COVID-19 represents an unprecedented challenge to all who live and work in California. The COVID-19 vaccination is the most important tool available for overcoming the virus. We look to our leaders in government and public health to ensure that vaccination is widely available as soon as possible, and we know they are making their best efforts to do so. Foster Farms’ Fresno, Stanislaus and Livingston vaccination programs are examples of what can be accomplished when government, public health and the private sector work collaboratively for the betterment of all.
[Please see below Foster Farms Employee Protections In Place]
About Foster Farms
Since 1939, West Coast families have depended on Foster Farms for premium quality chicken and turkey products. Family-owned and operated, the company continues its legacy of excellence and commitment to quality established by its founders, Max and Verda Foster. Foster Farms specializes in fresh, all-natural chicken and turkey products free of preservatives, additives or injected sodium enhancers. Foster Farms is based in Livingston in California’s Central Valley with facilities in California, Oregon, Washington, Arkansas and Louisiana. The company’s commitment to excellence, honesty, quality, service and people is a source of great pride, and a longtime family tradition.
Food safety is Foster Farms' highest priority, and the company would like to remind consumers to always follow safe handling, preparation and storage guidelines for the preparation of fresh poultry products. All fresh poultry products should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit as measured by a meat thermometer to ensure safety. Visit www.fosterfarms.com to learn more.
FOSTER FARMS COVID-19 EMPLOYEE PROTECTIONS IN PLACE
March 2, 2021
In addition to the current vaccination programs on site at Foster Farms’ Livingston and Fresno facilities, the company has the following COVID-19 mitigations in place. In consultation with local health departments and following CDC guidelines, Foster Farms has adopted a three-step, multi-hurdle approach to controlling COVID-19:
Temperature and wellness screening to prevent symptomatic employees from entering facilities.
Implementation of mitigations following CDC guidance and additional review with county health department. Mitigations include mandatory wearing of face coverings, addition of partitions to workstations where social distancing opportunities are limited, and continuous sanitation of the workplace and shared common areas, staggering of worker breaks and expansion of break areas. Most recently the company has reviewed ventilation at its processing facilities and has installed HEPA portable filters in common shared areas.
Ongoing testing of employees at all major processing facilities, to remove asymptomatic workers – those showing no signs of illness – curtailing potential COVID-19 spread. Our testing is graduated based on review of county prevalence levels and most recent test results.
CONTACT: Lorna Bush Fineman PR for Foster Farms 415-326-3199 firstname.lastname@example.org