ATCHISON, KAN. — The food and beverage industry has known both Cargill, Minneapolis, and MGP Ingredients, Atchison, as ingredient suppliers for decades. They also supply alcohol, which is proving valuable during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as people keep themselves and surfaces clean to avoid the spread of germs.

MGP Ingredients’ portfolio includes fiber and protein ingredients sourced from wheat, and the company has a distilled spirits business as well.

“We’ve ramped up our industrial alcohol production so that we can continue to supply the nation’s largest manufacturers of hospital-grade hand sanitizers and disinfectants,” said Jenell Wallace Loschke, public relations and content manager, on March 24. “Our team is working 24/7 to make this happen. If additional capacity becomes available, we are committed to supplying current customers in our alcohol segment.”

She added MGPI was founded in 1941 as a supplier of industrial alcohol for World War II. The COVID-19 outbreak has not affected MGPI’s supply chain, she said.

Cargill on March 24 said it had donated 60,000 liters of disinfecting alcohol to the health sector in The Netherlands. The disinfecting alcohol was produced at Cargill’s Sas van Gent facility in Zeeland, The Netherlands, and it will be distributed to Dutch hospitals and health care institutions through the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport in The Netherlands.

"This enables us to ensure the availability of surface disinfection,” said Niels Maijers, coordinator national corona taskforce on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.

Alain Dufait, managing director for Cargill Europe, said, "Cargill not only supplies essential food ingredients for humans and animals, but also alcohol for the drink and health industry.  Our people are working around the clock to keep our factories operating at full capacity across Europe.  It's no easy task because at the same time, we're also strengthening our hygiene measures so that our people can do their jobs safely.”

The precise extent of demand for disinfecting alcohol amid the COVID-19 outbreak is unclear, according to Cargill, but the company will monitor demand closely so that it may expand deliveries where necessary.

"We are also currently investigating how we can support the authorities in other European countries — such as Italy, Belgium and Germany — from our European factory network,” Mr. Dufait said. “In the meantime, a global network has been set up within Cargill to supply the production companies with the necessary protective clothing and hygiene products so that our people can continue to work safely."