Blue Diamond operates safely throughout the pandemic
Blue Diamond Growers is the largest almond processor in the world. They are a cooperative of more than 3,000 family-owned growers, mostly small farms across California. As COVID-19 rates rose throughout the United States, Blue Diamond needed to find a way for their processing facilities to safely stay open. Blue Diamond partnered with Color to implement a flexible surveillance testing program that let the business operate while keeping employees safe.
Creating a strategic COVID-19 plan
Blue Diamond Director of Global Quality and Safety Anthony Melo and his team developed plans early on to address COVID-19. Unlike some food processing companies, Blue Diamond has avoided major breakouts throughout the pandemic. They followed safety and quarantine measures strictly, re-engineered workspaces, and installed plexiglass barriers. But as an additional measure, Anthony wanted a way to validate their safety protocols. Like Blue Diamond’s food safety validation process, they took a strategic approach to have experts approve their COVID-19 measures. Having learned about Color from another company in the agriculture sector, Anthony asked Color to provide expertise and advice for the Blue Diamond team.
“From the turnaround time of results to the ease of use, I don’t think anyone out there can do it as well as Color.”
Flexible & agile testing program
Color’s team worked with Blue Diamond to create processes for if or when outbreaks would occur. Instead of a set number of tests, Blue Diamond accesses testing based on the need to conduct surveillance or respond to exposure. But it’s not just the tests themselves that have made it possible to stay open; it’s how easy Color’s system is for employees to use and the quick test-result turnaround time. Blue Diamond can test employees one day and get results the next day. Because Color’s system is agile, Blue Diamond can test a large portion of its population as needed.
When initially implementing Color’s testing platform, Anthony ran the testing site himself, which confirmed how simple it could be. Anthony found the process to be so easy that he quickly expanded it to two additional locations. “It was like flipping a switch,” he explains. “I got to stand by and watch, and focus on other important aspects of my job.”
Adapting for long-term success
Testing has been key for Blue Diamond locations to remain open, safe, and successful during the pandemic. When Cal/OSHA made it mandatory to test all outbreaks with more than three people on site, Blue Diamond already had processes in place with Color. Everything was already set up, so they never had to scramble or manage a crisis. Blue Diamond continues to avoid outbreaks because of the ability to view any positive cases on Color’s dashboard. Anthony describes, “From the quick turnaround time of results to the ease of use, I don’t think anyone out there can do it as well as Color.”