Finnebrogue Artisan in Downpatrick, a leading UK producer of sausages and burgers, has implemented an extensive programme of measures to ensure the safety of employees during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The measures have included 80 additional jobs, including social distancing marshals, to ensure employees stick to the new safety rules, according to technical director Declan Ferguson.
“We are spending an extra £100,000 a week on the social distancing measures to ensure the safety of our people,” he adds.
Every employee, for instance, is temperature checked when clocking-on.
Other safety measures include personal protective equipment, plastic screens separating workers on the production line and bonuses for those who observe strictly the new social distancing rules.
The company, a Food NI member, has seen a surge in demand for its quality products.
Mr Ferguson said: “Our production of packs of sausages and burgers has soared to 1.4 million a week because more people are now cooking at home. Before the virus outbreak we were producing around 850,000 packs a week.”
Finnebrogue Artisan operates one of the most advanced meat processing operations in the UK, a £25 million investment, and employs around 700 people.
It has an extensive track record in the development of innovative products, including the world leading nitrite-free bacon, ham and pork sausages.
In addition, Finnebrogue has led the way in the innovation of products for flexitarian diets.
The company is now a major supplier of meat products to M&S, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons in the UK.
Denis Lynn, chairman of Finnebrogue Artisan, launched Lynn’s Country Foods in 1985, a small food business that led to the formation of Finnebrogue Venison, a successful processor of fresh venison, and then Finnebrogue Artisan, all based in Downpatrick.