China suspends poultry imports from Tyson plant over coronavirus concerns

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China customs said on Sunday it had suspended imports of poultry products from a US-owned Tyson processor-based meat factory hit by the new coronavirus.The General Customs Administration said on its website that it had decided to suspend it after the company confirmed a cluster of coronavirus cases at the factory, which is located in Springdale, Arkansas.

Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson said the company was looking into the matter, adding Tyson is working closely with the US authorities to ensure its food is produced in full compliance with safety requirements.

“It is important to note that the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration, there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with food, “he told Reuters in an email.

China also suspended pork products from German processor pork Toennies last week following an outbreak of coronavirus among hundreds of its workers.

China has stepped up surveillance of imported food after a new cluster of coronavirus cases have been linked to a large wholesale trade in the capital’s food market in just over a week.

Beijing started testing meat, seafood and fresh produce for the coronavirus last week and some ports have been opening all containers of meat to perform coronavirus tests.

On Friday, customs asked food exporters to sign a declaration that their product is not infected with the virus.

U.S. poultry imports have increased since China lifted nearly five years of trade ban in November 2019.

– Correction: Reuters has released a correction to accurately reflect the cluster of confirmed coronavirus cases at the factory in Springdale, Arkansas, not in Arizona.

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