KANSAS CITY — Several milling and baking companies were taking precautions in advance of Hurricane Florence, which began its assault on the Carolinas on Sept. 13.
Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina warned residents of the state that “disaster is at the doorstep, and it’s coming in.” Mr. Cooper urged residents to move to safety if their homes are at risk and to plan to be without power for days.
Bay State Milling Co., Quincy, Mass., operates a facility in Mooresville, N.C., that mills organic wheat flour.
“This is not the first time that a Bay State Milling mill has been in the path of Mother Nature, as we also have a mill in Indiantown, Fla., that has seen its fair share of hurricanes as well as one in Clifton, N.J., which weathered more than one Nor’easter,” said Colleen M. Zammer, senior director of marketing and product development for Bay State Milling. “Given the location of our East coast mills, we have had many years to develop a preparation program for events such as a hurricane. We have a cross functional crisis management team that comes together days in advance of an event to plot out all possible scenarios and then works together to plan for how we will handle them should they arise.”
Bay State Milling will decide if and when employees need to leave the facility and then determine when it is safe to return, she said. A designated local management employee will lead that effort. The company has contingency plans for incoming grain, alternative mills and transportation if power goes down or if transportation is stalled due to flooding or other issues.
“Lastly, we develop plans for best and worst case scenarios of when we will be up and running again based on weather projections throughout the event,” Ms. Zammer said.
Flowers Foods, Inc., Thomasville, Ga., operates baking plants in Goldsboro, Jamestown, Newton and Winston-Salem, N.C. Late on Sept. 12 the company said it was “working around the clock” to make sure it could satisfy demand, adding that it would continue to bake products “as long as it is safe for our employees to do so.”
“We have not announced a suspension of production at any Flowers facilities and are closely monitoring the changing weather conditions,” the company said. “The safety of our employees and partners is a top priority in everything we do and are prepared to make the necessary decisions if things change.”
Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill., operates a facility in North Charleston, S.C.
“The safety of our employees is our top priority,” said Becca Hary, director of corporate communications. “In advance of Hurricane Florence, our team worked together to immediately activate our safety and emergency procedures, which included securing and evacuating the plant. Since our plant was undergoing a previously scheduled construction project, we had already made alternate arrangements to handle our customers’ orders.”
Sugaright, a wholly owned subsidiary of CSC Sugar, which is involved in sugar trading, distribution and refining, said the latest predictions show the most severe impact of the hurricane will miss the company’s network of refineries.
“All Sugaright refineries will work together to cover any additional demand that may occur due to the disruption in the supply chain,” the company said on Sept. 12. “We have inventory in the Shenandoah Valley that can be accessed to supply the impacted areas as needed.
“To be proactive, we are encouraging our customers in the Northeast to consider moving loads before or after the weekend as transportation may be impacted during the storm. Our carriers are currently strategically locating assets to minimize any disruption.”