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Sanitarium mulls onsite Covid testing, vaccinations to protect staff

Cereal manufacturer Sanitarium is considering implementing onsite Covid-testing and vaccination programs, just one way in which the FMCG industry is working towards protecting the wellbeing of workers during the pandemic. 

AFGC CEO Tanya Barden says companies have taken “comprehensive measures to keep workplaces safe and essential supplies flowing” as the latest Covid outbreak in NSW, Victoria and SA causes widespread stay-at-home orders and disruption to retailers and other businesses. 

“The AFGC is working closely with food and grocery manufacturers and governments to ensure there is minimal disruption as the industry responds to these necessary measures put in place to contain the spread of Covid-19,” Barden said in a statement. 

Besides looking into testing, Sanitarium has already implemented strict screening and production area “moating” to protect staff and production and is encouraging staff to get vaccinated. 

Another major FMCG manufacturer, Unilever, is conducting pre-arrival health checks and onsite temperature checks on all staff before they can enter the company’s North Rocks facility. The company also requires face masks, has implemented no-touch pick-up and delivery, uses wearable Bluetooth technology to track close contacts, and has changed lunch room and shift patterns.

Barden said greater Sydney is one of the biggest manufacturing regions in the country and food and grocery manufacturers have taken all steps possible to protect staff and customers. 

She welcomed the NSW government’s focus on increasing vaccination rates among workers in western and south-western Sydney and said the AFGC will continue to work with the government and industry to facilitate clear communication.

Given Australia produces three times the food required to feed the entire population, Australians can be confident that essential products and their favourite brands will continue to be available, she said, adding that food and grocery production and distribution is “safe, reliable and highly efficient in Australia”. 

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