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Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire pudding factory is hit by Covid outbreak

Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire pudding factory has been hit by a coronavirus outbreak, with one worker currently ‘seriously ill’ in hospital.

The frozen food firm confirmed that a ‘small number’ of cases at its plant in Hull, that employs around 350 people and produces half a billion ‘Yorkshires’ a year. 

Aunt Bessie’s said the factory has been deep cleaned following the outbreak as it tries to track down any further cases.

The worker is said to be seriously ill and in hospital, while a second is recovering at home.

Both are believed to have displayed symptoms of the virus before being tested and going into isolation. 

The frozen food firm confirmed that a 'small number' of cases at its plant in Hull that employs around 350 people and produces half a billion 'Yorkshires' a year

The frozen food firm confirmed that a ‘small number’ of cases at its plant in Hull that employs around 350 people and produces half a billion ‘Yorkshires’ a year

The plant in Freightliner Road has now been cleaned as the firm boasts it has ‘followed and gone beyond’ government guidance.

Bosses are trying to track down any other employees who may have come into contact with the infected workers.

The first employee told bosses they were feeling unwell last Thursday, and then a day later the second began showing symptoms.

Tim Fielding, assistant director of public health at Hull City Council, assured the risk to the general public is believed to be ‘very low’.

Aunt Bessie’s have said the firm has put in place additional social distancing measures and the plant will operate at a ‘reduced capacity’.

It boasted the factory already had thermal cameras to detect high temperatures, Perspex barriers, mandatory face masks and floorspace segregation.

Aunt Bessie's have said the firm has put in place additional social distancing measures and the plant will operate at a 'reduced capacity'

Aunt Bessie’s have said the firm has put in place additional social distancing measures and the plant will operate at a ‘reduced capacity’

The Aunt Bessie’s outbreak comes after a string of food processing plants have been struck down with the coronavirus.

At the end of last month, a Greggs depot near Leeds was forced to shutdown after around 20 staff members were infected.

Hundreds of employees were forced to self-isolate after coronavirus was detected at a Banham Poultry factory in Norfolk.

Two Sisters Food processing plant in Coupar Angus, Perthshire saw 152 coronavirus cases linked to an outbreak.

And nearly 300 workers were tested positive at Greencore’s factory in Northampton that makes M&S sandwiches.

However, the government has assured its ‘very unlikely’ you can catch the bug from food.

In a statement, Aunt Bessie’s said: ‘Currently, our Aunt Bessie’s factory has a small number of coronavirus cases, but PHE has repeatedly complimented us on our social distancing measures and our proactive approach to ensuring that our colleagues are safe and well.

‘The health and welfare of our employees is our number one priority.

‘We acted early and decisively in March to implement new procedures and have strict protocols at all of our sites, including our Hull Aunt Bessie’s factory, to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading amongst our employees.’

The firm added: ‘If a factory worker contracts the virus, we would clean the area where the person was working, confirm that social distancing has been applied and apply our own track and trace procedure to identify co-workers who also need to go into isolation.’

Aunt Bessie’s has also confirmed that employees who have to isolate due to having virus symptoms will receive full pay.

The factory which produces 500 million Yorkshire puddings a year is now running at reduced capacity amid the outbreak.

‘Our production facilities have always been regularly sanitised, and we introduced additional sanitisation and facility cleans in early March.

‘Other measures in place at our Aunt Bessie’s facility include floorspace segregation, the use of thermal infrared cameras to detect signs of high temperature, use of Perspex barriers in some areas and mandatory wearing of face masks.

‘We have followed and gone beyond the guidance of national health authorities.

‘If a factory worker contracts the virus, we would clean the area where the person was working, confirm that social distancing has been applied and apply our own track and trace procedure to identify co-workers who also need to go into isolation.’

East Riding of Yorkshire Council said ‘The team has been working with the business, as well as colleagues in Public Health England (PHE) and other local partners after a small number of staff tested positive.

‘All those affected have been advised to self-isolate and anyone who has been in contact with them will have been notified.

‘The business has been supported to put in place additional safety and social distancing measures and the business is continuing to operate in a reduced capacity.

‘The risk to the general public from this outbreak is considered very low.’

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