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June 22, 2020

China suspends poultry imports from Covid-hit Tyson plant

China has suspended poultry imports from a plant owned by Tyson Foods which has been hit by a Covid-19 outbreak.

By Leonie Barrie

China has suspended poultry imports from a plant owned by Tyson Foods which has been hit by a Covid-19 outbreak.

In a statement yesterday (21 June) seen by just-food, China’s General Administration of Customs said “the export of poultry slaughtering enterprises registered by Tyson Company of the United States with the registration number P5842 has been suspended”.

The statement noted Tyson had “recently occurred employees with new pneumonia aggregation infection”.

The suspension relates to a Tyson plant in Springdale, Arkansas.

In an email sent to The Associated Press, a Tyson spokesperson said: “At Tyson, our top priority is the health and safety of our team members, and we work closely with the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to ensure that we produce all of our food in full compliance with government safety requirements.”

The spokesperson added: “At Tyson, we’re confident our products are safe and we’re hopeful consultations between the US and Chinese governments will resolve this matter.”

On Friday (19 June), Tyson confirmed that 227 employees at its Berry Street facility in Springdale have tested positive for Covid-19 out of a total of 1,120 workers tested.

At its Randall Road facility, also in Springdale, 300 test have been carried out with 37 workers testing positive.

Tyson said it has introduced protective measures including symptom screenings for all employees before every shift, providing mandatory protective face masks to all workers, as well as a range of social distancing measures, including physical barriers between workstations and in break rooms.

On Thursday (18 June), the Chinese authorities suspended the import of meat from Toennies’ plant in Rheda Wiedenbrück, Germany, after a Covid-19 outbreak there.

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