In this file:
· Is Eating Meat From Meatpacking Plants With Covid-19 Coronavirus Outbreaks Safe?
... let’s run through possible scenarios...
· China bans pork imports by German meat supplier over coronavirus concerns
· China Suspends Poultry Imports From Tyson Foods Plant In Arkansas
· Food exporters to China asked to declare produce coronavirus-free
· China Says Food Unlikely to Be Cause of New Virus Outbreak, but Blocks Tyson Imports
Is Eating Meat From Meatpacking Plants With Covid-19 Coronavirus Outbreaks Safe?
Victoria Forster, Contributor, Forbes
Jun 21, 2020
Meatpacking plants have been frequent outbreak hot spots of the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S. As of June 16th, over 25,000 processing plant employees from 238 plants in 33 states had been infected with at least 91 deaths according to tracking data from the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.
Today China suspended all imports of poultry from Arkansas-based Tyson Foods and products arriving in Hong Kong were being seized on arrival in the country. Germany also reported a huge outbreak with over 1,000 workers infected at an abattoir owned by Tönnies, the country’s largest meat-processing company. In the U.K. a poultry processing plant in Wales reported 75 cases among its workers today. All of the companies are quarantining their remaining workers to try and contain the outbreaks.
These outbreaks, both in the U.S. and elsewhere, have resulted in widespread criticism of working conditions at the plants where employees often work in extremely cramped conditions where physical distancing is impossible. Although these plants briefly close for cleaning after big outbreaks, undoubtedly much of the meat that has been handled by people infected with Covid-19 will have made it into the food chain. But is there any risk from eating this meat?
“Meat is probably not a big risk,” said said Angela L. Rasmussen, PhD, a virologist in the faculty of the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. “There is no evidence of food borne transmission,” Rasmussen added.
So already this seems unlikely, but let’s run through possible scenarios. The majority of us eat meat that is cooked for very good reason that has little to do with SARS-CoV2 and everything to do with other dangerous microbes such as salmonella, which can be present in chicken and worm-like parasites which can reside in pork. The good thing is that these potentially harmful microbes are effectively killed by heat and pose no risk to human health when dead.
For this reason, the CDC recommends that meats are cooked to minimum temperatures before eating...
more, including links
China bans pork imports by German meat supplier over coronavirus concerns
China's customs authorities have banned pork imports from German meat supplier Toennies Lebensmittel GmbH & Company KG starting June 17 due to coronavirus concerns.
A total of 657 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at a slaughterhouse operated by The Tönnies Group in northwestern Germany, German authorities said on Wednesday.
China Suspends Poultry Imports From Tyson Foods Plant In Arkansas
Jason Slotkin, NPR
June 21, 2020
China is halting the import of poultry from a Tyson Foods plant in Arkansas following an outbreak of coronavirus cases at the facility.
The nation's General Administration of Customs office made the announcement on Sunday, saying shipments from the plant would be temporarily suspended, while products that have already arrived will be seized.
Tyson Foods confirmed to NPR that the announcement pertains to its Berry Street facility in Springdale, Ark., where 227 workers tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this month. All but four of them were asymptomatic, according to Tyson.
The company said that tests of its facilities in northwest Arkansas showed that 481 employees, or 13% of 3,748 employees, had tested positive. The company said 455 of those employees (95%) were asymptomatic.
In a statement, Tyson Foods said it was investigating reports of the suspension.
"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 company said…
Food exporters to China asked to declare produce coronavirus-free
Declaration puts onus on exporters for product safety
By Dominique Patton, GFM Network News
via Canadian Cattlemen - June 19, 2020
Beijing | Reuters — China’s customs authority has asked food exporters to the country to sign a declaration their produce is not contaminated by the novel coronavirus, three people who received a letter said on Friday.
The declaration, seen by Reuters, may be an effort by China to reduce the additional testing it has carried out on imported foods over the last week and make exporters responsible for guaranteeing their products’ safety, one meat importer who had signed it said.
He declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The French pork industry association Inaporc also received the notice, an official said.
China’s General Administration of Customs did not immediately respond to a fax seeking comment.
The declaration says the exporter is willing to comply with Chinese laws and guidance from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization to ensure food imported into China is not contaminated with the virus that causes COVID-19.
“In the event that a new case/suspected case of COVID-19 is detected in a food enterprise, or if there is a risk of contamination of food products exported to China, we are willing to take all necessary measures to eliminate food safety risks and protect consumer health,” it adds.
Beijing began testing imported food for the coronavirus after an outbreak in a wholesale food market last week.
In Tianjin, the primary port for Beijing, authorities are testing all containers of meat, importers said.
More than 30,000 samples of meat, seafood, vegetables and fruit were tested between June 11-17. All tested negative for the coronavirus, customs said on Thursday...
By Marion Dakers and Michael Hirtzer, Insurance Journal
June 22, 2020
China suspended poultry imports from a Tyson Foods Inc. plant where hundreds of employees tested positive for Covid-19, stoking concerns over the broader implications for U.S. and global meat exports.
All products from the plant in Springdale, Arkansas, where Tyson is based, that are about to arrive in China or have arrived at the country’s ports will be seized by customs. The suspension announced Sunday is an about-face from just a few days ago, when Chinese officials said food was unlikely to be responsible for a fresh virus outbreak in Beijing.
The move is a potential new threat to meat plants across the world that have seen slaughter disruptions because of the virus. In the U.S., hundreds of workers have become ill, and dozens have died. There’s also been a recent uptick in infections at facilities in Brazil and Germany.
“There are worries in China over serious coronavirus outbreaks in the U.S.,” said Lin Guofa, a senior analyst at Bric Agriculture Group, a Beijing-based consulting firm. The public is worried about imported frozen products as almost all cases in Beijing have been connected to a meat and frozen fish wholesale market, he said.
A new outbreak in China had been blamed on imported salmon after the head of a food market where clusters were detected said the virus had been traced to a chopping board used by a fish seller. Fears over whether food can transmit viruses had led salmon to be boycotted in the Asian country.
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