AN Italian confectionery company based in Cork has moved to explain why it has continued the production of Tic Tacs during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Amid criticism for not shutting down, Ferrero said that ensuring the health of its workers is the company’s “number one priority”.
“Food... as per the guidelines published by the Irish Government, falls under the critical sectors that should be maintained during the current crisis,” it said.
“At Ferrero, like many other food businesses, we are still working to guarantee production continuity and ensure we are not compromising the food supply chain.
“We continue to strictly follow and apply the relevant local public authority and Health Service Executive guidelines, while safeguarding the health of our colleagues as our number one priority,” the company said.
It outlined a number of preventative measures already in place at the factory, such as adhering to social distancing guidelines, staggered start and end times for shifts and breaks, supplying protective equipment to all personnel with direct external contact, and an increase in the frequency of transportation provided to workers for their commute, to ensure social distancing.
Cork North Central TD Mick Barry has been critical of the company, saying that regardless of additional health and safety measures, there is a risk to workers. He called on the factory to shut its doors during the pandemic.
“Ferrero should shut down in my opinion, without loss of pay for the workers,” he told The Echo.
“I think it’s a joke to say that they are involved in essential food production. No one is going to starve if there’s a shortage of Tic Tacs for a couple of weeks.”
Ferrero said it “will continue to work closely with the Government to better understand how we can support our industry during the constant evolution of this unprecedented situation,” according to a spokesperson.