“Total chaos” were the words used by an anonymous source in describing the state of the Frito-Lay manufacturing plant at 101 Industrial Boulevard on the night of July 1. According to the source, employees at the plant have recently been made aware that a coworker was COVID-19-positive, and the ensuing disorder led to a number of employees walking off the job.

Allegedly, the only immediate safety measure taken was the quarantining of those who were working the same shift as the infected employee, and our source expressed concern that efforts to contain the virus by quarantining the potentially infected aren’t being applied widely enough. The source described a slapdash process of “picking and choosing” who can leave and who cannot, whereby those with legitimate concerns for the safety of their families may not be permitted to self-quarantine.

Employees apparently circulate regularly throughout the facility, which has a mostly open floor-plan in its manufacturing section, so our source explained. “I’m really concerned about spreading it through the town,” they said, pointing out that the allegedly infected person had been among employees as recently as a few days ago.

It is important to note that our source confirmed that Frito-Lay has been requiring the wearing of facial masks and has encouraged social distancing, but they are also worried that the factory may be prioritizing profits and efficiency over public health.

Frito-Lay released the following statement on the matter:

  1. We can confirm a limited number of employees at our Fayetteville, Tenn., Frito-Lay facility have tested positive for COVID-19. In accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health authorities, the employees are being quarantined and have been advised to seek medical attention. We are unable to disclose additional details about the individuals in accordance with privacy laws.

 The safety of our employees, product and community remains our top priority. We have taken all necessary steps to identify and notify individuals who had direct contact with the COVID-19 positive employees and have asked those individuals to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days. In addition to enhanced daily cleaning and disinfecting procedures, as a precautionary measure, we made the decision to temporarily shut down portions of the Fayetteville site to conduct a deep cleaning of affected areas and equipment based on CDC guidelines and using EPA-approved registered products for COVID-19. All operations are expected to resume once the cleaning is complete.

To further protect our associates, we have implemented a variety of safety measures including social distancing, symptoms screening, temperature checks and provided necessary PPE for employees at the Fayetteville facility.

We continue to enforce already strict preventive safety and sanitation measures in all of our locations and operate in line with guidance from the CDC and other health authorities. Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19 and there is no food safety risk.” – Frito-Lay

More details on this story will be provided as it develops.