Princes canning plant closed for a day after coronavirus cases found

Food canner Princes Group shut one of its UK plants temporarily after staff were diagnosed with coronavirus.

The owner of brands including Branston, Napolina and Batchelor’s closed its Wisbech plant in the east of England for 24 hours after 14 of its 407 employees were found to be infected with the virus, according to reports.

The facility, which packs products including baked beans, reopened on the morning of 24 June after it had been deep cleaned, the company told the BBC. The affected workers were told to self-isolate and all staff and their friends and families would be tracked to ensure that the disease would spread no further.

“A deep clean of the facilities these colleagues used was also conducted, alongside further stringent cleaning across the site,” the company said. “We remain in close contact with Public Health England and Fenland District Council so they are fully informed of our approach and developments at the site,” it added, referring to the local health and municipal authorities. 

Princes is based in Liverpool and owned by Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan’s largest trading company.

The sicknesses follow a spate of coronavirus outbreaks at food processing plants around the world. An entire town in northern Germany was thrown into quarantine measures after more than 650 workers at a nearby meat factory in Gutersloh tested positive for the disease. Hundreds of workers taken ill in a number of abattoirs struck by coronavirus forced up the price of meat and led to shortages in the US earlier in the pandemic. 

Three meat processing plants in Yorkshire and Wales in the UK were similarly afflicted, according to reports.