Cranswick Country Foods factory in Cullybackey, Co. Antrim, has reopened two weeks after authorities ordered it to close following an outbreak of Covid-19 among staff.
The site had closed for two-weeks after a coronavirus (Covid-19) cluster was located in the local community and had affected employees.
Minister of Health Robin Swann explained 35 employees and a smaller number of direct contacts had tested positive when the cluster was first made public on August 20.
The cluster is thought to be one of the biggest in Northern Ireland so far.
A spokesman confirmed staff were back on-site today (Friday, September 4) with production expected to resume on Monday.
As one of Northern Ireland's main pork factories, processing around 1,000 pigs a week, the news will come as a relief to many pig farmers throughout the province.
Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) president Victor Chestnutt said: “It is positive news that Cranswick has reopened and it will be well received among our pig producers.
The UFU committed a lot of time and resources to minimise the impact of Cranswick’s closure hosting discussions with ministers, officials and pig processors, to get the factory up and running again as soon as it became a safe environment for staff and farmers to return to.
"The safety of everyone remained a priority while we worked to ensure that the pig trade was not disrupted and farmers were not left struggling to house pigs for lengthier periods than initially planned.
“We want to thank the processors for working together, helping us to get to this stage.
"We encourage them to continue working together in such an effective manner, maximising the throughput of pigs and alleviating any backlog which may have been starting to occur on farms.”