GREEN BAY, WIS. — As the demand for masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) grows to exceed the supply, Carnivore Meat Company, the maker of Vital Essentials pet food and treats, has donated its ultraviolet (UV) sterilization system to front-line medical personnel and other essential workers in northeastern Wisconsin.

Carnivore Meat Company purchased the UV sterilizing chamber brand-new and, before getting the chance to use it in its own manufacturing process, opted to lend the machine to help keep the short supply of face masks and PPE clean and usable throughout the COVID-19 response in the area.

"I contacted the CEO of a local health care provider and offered the use our equipment for as long as needed,” said Lanny Viegut, owner and chief executive officer of Carnivore Meat Company.

Running at-capacity, the UV sterilizer can clean up to 1.4 million masks per week. One mask can be sterilized and reused up to five times, according to Carnivore Meat Company. This could reduce the need to purchase more masks, resulting in cost savings of up to $2 million per week, the company estimated.

"Carnivore Meat Company's UV machine is an efficient, continuous conveyor driven machine that is designed to run 24/7," Viegut said.

The machine was transported to a designated facility, where it was set up and personnel were trained on how to use the sterilizer. Now fully operational, this transition was completed in less than one week, Viegut said.

The idea to donate Carnivore Meat Company’s UV sterilization chamber came after President Donald Trump and the federal government called on private sector companies to utilize their resources to benefit the health and safety of medical personnel as they respond to the virus, Viegut said.

"I urge all companies to review their asset list and check their warehouses for sterilization and sanitation equipment that could potentially be used to aid America in its fight against the coronavirus," Viegut said. "There are likely other UV machines in the US that could be repurposed to sterilize PPE for public safety and health care workers during the pandemic."

The company continues to operate at its three Green Bay-area manufacturing facilities. These locations are following health and safety guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), including frequent handwashing and increased sanitation measures, social distancing, suspended travel and postponed in-person meetings.

“We have been proactively bolstering our inventories of all products for the past several weeks, and because of this, we do not expect any disruptions to the availability of our products,” the company said in an official COVID-19 statement.

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