There are growing concerns about the spread of Covid-19 at meat processing facilities.

SIPTU, which represents workers in the industry, has said it was concerned that the industry could face issues similar in scale to nursing homes.

The trade union said that further measures to contain the spread of the virus were needed.

RTÉ News has learned that a pig meat processing plant in Edenderry in Co Offaly has had almost 60 cases of Covid-19 confirmed so far this week, after the entire staff of close to 600 was tested on Monday.

Rosderra Meats, which also had more than 120 cases confirmed at another facility in Co Tipperary, is insisting that strict protocols on curbing the spread of the virus are in place.

In statement, Rosderra Irish Meats Group said it was continuing to work closely with the HSE, the Department of Agriculture and occupational health professionals to implement significant Covid-19 control measures and protocols.

"The safety and welfare of our employees is of the utmost importance to Rosderra Irish Meats and we continue to be extremely vigilant with our protective measures for infection control, including supervised distancing, mandatory face coverings for all employees on all sites, temperature screening and a staggered approach to breaks and start times to reduce the possibility of gatherings," the company said.

"From week commencing 16 March, we instituted temperature screening which included completion of a symptom interview-questionnaire for all staff and essential visitors entering our sites."

Separately, another processing plant in Co Roscommon has written to staff asking them to maintain social distancing outside work.

The letter from Kepak management claims that local gardaí informed the company that a "small number" of Kepak employees were not adhering to Government guidelines on social distancing.

The letter reads: "This is very disappointing and a failure to comply with the rules around coronavirus will result in unnecessary spread of the virus among your family, friends and in the community."

Independent TD Denis Naughten said that the failure to tackle the spread of the virus in meat processing plants could lead to what he called "a second generation of Covid-19 infections in communities where there has been a low level of infection to date".

The Independent TD said the impact of a delayed reaction in nursing homes was already evident and "unless the HSE acts swiftly we could have a similar story in meat processing facilities across the country".

There are now more than 600 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among workers in the meat industry in Ireland.

In Northern Ireland, one worker at the Moy Park poultry plant in Dungannon died after she contracted the virus.