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China suspends poultry imports from US Tyson plant over coronavirus outbreak

China’s customs authority has suspended imports of poultry products from a plant owned by Tyson Foods Inc that reported new coronavirus cases.

22 June 2020, at 9:44am

Reuters reports that the General Administration of Customs website says it has decided to suspend imports after Tyson confirmed a new cluster of COVID-19 cases at a poultry plant in Springdale, Arkansas.

Gary Mickelson, a spokesman for Tyson, says the company was looking into the issue. He also stressed that Tyson is working closely with US authorities to ensure its food is produced in full compliance with government safety requirements.

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

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

China has stepped up its oversight of imported foods after a new cluster of coronavirus cases were linked to a sprawling wholesale food market in the capital just over a week ago.

Beijing began testing meat, seafood and fresh produce for the coronavirus last week and some ports were opening all containers of meat to carry out coronavirus tests.

On Friday 19 June, customs asked food exporters to sign a declaration that their produce is not contaminated by the virus.

Imports of US poultry have surged since China ended an almost five-year ban on the trade in November 2019.

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