Rantoul Foods resumes hiring; receives donation of face shields

Rantoul Foods, which has had at least 87 workers stricken with Covid-19 at its meat processing plant, started hiring again.

But the meat processing company said new workers “must take a Covid-19 test and receive negative results prior to starting work,” in an email Monday to the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

Mass testing at meat plant finds 27 more coronavirus cases

Rantoul Foods, one of Central Illinois’ largest meat processing plants, will partially shut down Monday to undergo additional sanitization following a mass testing event at the plant Friday and Saturday that found 27 more cases of Covid-19 among employees, according to a company release.

Though yet to be confirmed by health officials, this pushes the total number of employees who have become sick to 82.

Covid-19 outbreak hits Rantoul meat processing plant

Just days before President Trump ordered meat packing plants to remain open to mitigate food shortages, Rantoul Foods in Central Illinois saw its first case. There are now 21.

One of the largest meat processing plants in central Illinois is battling an outbreak of coronavirus in which 21 cases of  Covid-19 have been already been counted, a company official confirmed Monday

Rantoul Foods, which is based in Rantoul and processes between 30 million and 35 million pounds of pork each month, saw its first case on April 25, said Jerry Jacobsen, the company’s director of human resources, safety and business administration. Since then 20 more cases have been reported.

Jacobsen said the company is taking safety measures to bring the outbreak under control.

“The first thing is the health of our employees,” Jacobsen said, “because without our employees we don’t have a business.” 

The first worker identified with Covid-19 has now recovered and returned to work, he said.