Tyson Foods deploys walk-through temperature scanners at three U.S. sites that help feed millions of people

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Tyson Foods is using walk-through infrared body temperature scanners at three of its U.S. food processing sites in an effort to keep coronavirus COVID-19 out of its facilities. The scanners can check an employee’s temperature as they walk into the building.

Tyson Foods says it believes the infrared body temperature scanners can help keep COVID-19 out of facilities and maintain the stability of U.S. food supply.

Tyson gave CNBC an exclusive first look at video of how the walk-through scanners work.

A temperature scanner used by Tyson Foods.

Tyson Foods

“Every person that needs to enter our facility, team member, visitor, anyone has their temperature taken before they enter the facility,” Tyson’s senior vice president of health and safety Tom Brower told CNBC. 

“One beef facility in Nebraska produces enough food every day to feed 18 million people. We have a vital role to continue to feed the nation. We are doing everything we can to keep employees safe.”

Brower said the scanners allow for mass screening and are faster and more accurate than handheld devices. “People can just naturally enter the workforce and it’s scanning them for their temperature,” he said.

The U.S. FDA says there aren’t any infrared body temperature scanners that are approved to detect fevers as a symptom of COVID-19. Similar fever-detecting devices have been used to identify sick travelers in airports in Asia since the SARS outbreak in 2003, however. And, in a statement sent to CNBC, the agency indicated it’s exploring new guidance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A temperature scanner used by Tyson Foods.

Tyson Foods

“The FDA is committed to maximum regulatory flexibility in its response to this pandemic, while assuring products are appropriate for use,” an FDA spokesperson told CNBC.

“The FDA has a variety of tools to help meet the medical device needs of the American people during a public health emergency, including the ability to authorize emergency use of an unapproved medical device or product marketed for medical purposes that is eligible for such use, in certain circumstances. We are evaluating the best approach to help to ensure the availability of critical and appropriate medical devices,” the FDA said.

A temperature scanner used by Tyson Foods.

Tyson Foods

Other large companies say they’re either already using or exploring the use of walk-through temperature scanners.

People familiar with Goldman Sachs‘ coronavirus planning say the bank is in discussions to buy infrared body temperature scanners for several offices. Their use is part of a broader plan for when employees are cleared by health officials to return to the office.

UPS says infrared body temperature scanners are under consideration for its 2,200 facilities, but it believes other options can be put in place more quickly.

A Texas-based company named Infrared Cameras Inc says Ford and Carnival Cruise Line have purchased infrared body temperature scanners. Neither company responded to requests for comment.

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