Letter from Ken Wegner - President, The Jel Sert Company
Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has created unimaginable challenges for our world and our community in West Chicago. While we are encouraged by the progress made in fighting this pandemic, we know that we must remain vigilant and continue our efforts to do everything within our power to ensure our workforce's ongoing health and safety at The Jel Sert Company.
For over a year, Jel Sert's COVID-19 task force has worked diligently to navigate the ongoing challenges of this crisis. Our team closely monitors the latest information given by global, national, state and local health organizations. We continue to take all appropriate steps recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Illinois Department of Public Health, and the DuPage County Health Department. We have made it our mission to go above and beyond the standard recommendations and protocols and, in doing so, are proud to have set best-practices for the manufacturing industry as a whole.
Our company has been guided by the same set of core values that have been in place for almost a century. At the center of those values is transparency, which is why we wanted to take this opportunity to update our employees, partners, and retailers, as well as our neighbors in West Chicago, Illinois, on how Jel Sert continues to make innovative and impactful changes to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
We will be updating the COVID-19 response portion of our webpage with new information and photos that detail the vast changes we've made to our facility. In addition, we’ll outline our updated protocols and guidelines. We hope this page will serve as a valuable resource of information and demonstrate our continued effort to transparently communicate all the ways in which Jel Sert is prioritizing the safety and well-being of our team members and community.
March 12, 2021
WEST CHICAGO, IL. (March 12), 2021 – Leading food and beverage manufacturer The Jel Sert Company today announced that over 600 team members at its West Chicago, Ill., facility would receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The event will take place on Monday, March 15th, at the company’s southwest training center. State Senator Karina Villa will…Read More
April 13, 2020
WEST CHICAGO, IL., APRIL 13, 2020 — The Jel Sert Company has announced plans to reopen its West Chicago manufacturing facility on April 13th. The company suspended manufacturing on April 3rd, due to the continued community-wide spread of COVID-19 in DuPage County and the self-quarantining of some of the Jel Sert staff. As a manufacturer…Read More
April 3, 2020
April 3, 2020. The Jel Sert Company has made the difficult decision to temporarily close the manufacturing portion of the West Chicago, Illinois, facility, effective at the close of business on April 3, 2020. We are planning to re-open all or a portion of the manufacturing facility on or around April 13, 2020. During this…Read More
March 27, 2020
March 27, 2020. During this time of uncertainty, we feel it is important to share updates with both our Jel Sert employees and our neighbors in the community. We have just been made aware that a third Jel Sert employee has tested positive for COVID-19. That employee is currently at home and receiving care. We…Read More
March 25, 2020
March 25, 2020. Today we are reporting that two of our factory workers have recently tested positive for COVID-19. These employees are currently quarantined and receiving care. We have notified all employees who worked in close proximity with these workers, and as a precaution, have placed each on paid leave and asked that they self-quarantine…Read More
March 16, 2020
Covid-19 Response – At The Jel Sert Company, our actions have always been guided by our mission of producing safe, high-quality food and beverage products that our customers and consumers trust. This has been the ethos at our company, and it remains so in these challenging times. While we have always adhered to the highest…Read More
As part of our COVID-19 response, Jel Sert created a COVID Task Force that meets regularly to discuss the latest safety protocols for our employees, community, partners, and consumers. The task force works closely with local officials, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the DuPage County Health Department to ensure that our facility sets the standard for COVID-19 safety protocols in a food manufacturing facility while maintaining the highest standards for product quality.
The task force is responsible for reviewing and implementing all relevant safety measures and actions that include, but are not limited to, social distancing guidelines, health screenings, increased workplace sanitation, and production line safety protocols.
At Jel Sert, we are committed to ensuring the health and well-being of our valued team members. As a pharmaceutical-grade manufacturing facility, we have always been dedicated to upholding the most stringent health standards that ensure the safety of our employees and the products we manufacture.
As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have gone above and beyond taking the appropriate steps recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Illinois Department of Public Health, and the DuPage County Health Department.
We have implemented the following top-tier response and preventative measures at our West Chicago, Illinois facility:
- Thorough entry screening that includes:
- Infrared temperature checks
- A stringent protocol for handwashing and further utilizing automatic machines that wash and sanitize employees’ hands (above and beyond our standard protocols).
- Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees, including face masks and face shields to be worn throughout our facility.
- Requiring employees to fill out a daily questionnaire from the Department of Public Health to determine if team members meet the criteria needed to enter the manufacturing facility or corporate office.
- Issued physical distancing guidelines and engineered controls for social distancing throughout each of our facilities.
- Adjusted workflow to ensure more control over physical distancing inside and outside of production areas that include:
- Line partitioning with plexiglass barriers
- Requiring all office employees to work from home, as appropriate
- Ongoing communication and training for employees on COVID-19 updates, safety protocols, and industry best practices.
Throughout this pandemic, Jel Sert has strived to produce and uphold the highest quality products for our retailers, contract customers, and consumers, maintaining our SQF Quality Edition 8.1 rating. We have implemented all necessary safety protocols in a timely manner without disrupting production for our customers.
Giving back to our local and national communities has always been a priority for Jel Sert. Over the past year, we have continued to support the American Childhood Cancer Organization, the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, and local organizations by raising awareness, donating products, and hosting virtual fundraisers.
In 2020, we were able to:
- Provide thousands of boxes of Wyler’s Light and Royal desserts to our local Salvation Army
- Supply the Northern Illinois Food Bank with thousands of Royal Delights desserts
- Donate Wyler’s Light drink mixes to local food pantries
- Provide 100+ Childhood Cancer Treatment centers with an unlimited supply of freezer pops with the Take a Pop, Share a Smile Program
- Support the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition as a National and local Sponsor, including virtual participation in the Together in Teal® walk
- Support the American Childhood Cancer Organization with a virtual Pjammin’® event that raised funds for the organization
We want to continue to be a resource to help our retail partners, our consumers, and our community members find answers to their questions about critical health and food-related topics associated with COVID-19.
We’d like to share with everyone that, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is currently no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19. We encourage everyone to visit the following websites to find more about this topic, as well as other crucial COVID-19-related information:
The safety of our team members and our community is our top priority. If you have any questions about our protocols or products, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.