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Kaysville’s giant Deseret Mill and Pasta Plant, owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has remained open during the coronavirus pandemic, while many other Utah businesses have shut down.
After all, under Gov. Gary Herbert’s guidelines, processing and distributing food have been deemed “essential services” in these days of takeout-only restaurants and limited grocery store hours.
The pasta plant, which was dedicated in 2015, can hold millions of pounds of wheat and process up to 200,000 pounds of grain in a single day. That is then made into spaghetti, macaroni, ribbon pasta, spaghetti bites, and thin pasta for macaroni and cheese to distribute to various food banks and individuals.
Under normal circumstances, the plant relies on 24 full-time employees, 30 missionaries and hundreds of Latter-day Saint volunteers drawn from area congregations, many of whom are retired.
The outbreak, however, has caused the factory to alter its patterns and policies.
The plant remains in operation, said church spokesman Doug Andersen, “but with new safety guidelines, which are in line with requirements from state and local health officials.”
And those older workers, who are at higher risk of health complications from COVID-19?
“We are mindful to ensure that our volunteer workforce is drawn from lower-risk demographics,” Andersen said. “Many of our usual volunteers are senior service missionaries, who are being asked to do what they can remotely.”
As to social distancing, those “guidelines are in effect,” he said, “and shift sizes are limited to groups fewer than 10 in the same work area.”
On top of that, he said, the plant has “increased sanitization of work areas.”