Pandemics like the coronavirus can have crippling effects on our food supply. The bottleneck starts from the processing plants.
China said Sunday that it has suspended poultry imports from a Tyson Foods facility where hundreds have tested positive for the coronavirus.
China’s General Administration of Customs office announced the suspension Sunday in a news release noting the company “recently occurred employees with new pneumonia aggregation infection.”
Tyson Foods said Sunday it was looking into the reports and confirmed the facility in question was in Springdale, Arkansas.
“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,” Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson said in an email to The Associated Press.
Save better, spend better: Money tips and advice delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here
Mickelson added that all global and U.S. health organizations agree that there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 via food.
On Friday, the company announced the results of COVID-19 testing at its facilities in Benton and Washington counties, Arkansas, and said that a majority of employees who tested positive for the virus didn’t show any symptoms.
Check your refrigerator: Garden salad mix sold at Aldi, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco may be linked to Cyclospora outbreak in 6 states
Apple’s 31st annual WWDC: Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about George Floyd video, social change ahead of conference
Of the 3,748 employees tested, 481 or 13% tested positive for COVID-19 with 455 or nearly 95% asymptomatic.
There have been other COVID-19 outbreaks at Tyson plants, including in North Carolina, Nebraska, and Iowa.
In November, China lifted a five-year ban on U.S. poultry. China had blocked U.S. poultry imports a month after an outbreak of avian influenza in December 2014, closing off a market that brought more than $500 million worth of American chicken, turkey and other poultry products in 2013.
U.S. meat production plummeted in April following a rash of coronavirus outbreaks and closures at processing plants across the country, leading President Donald Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act in April declaring it was crucial to keep meat plants operating.
Contributing: Associated Press; Kyle Bagenstose, USA TODAY
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/food/2020/06/21/tyson-foods-poultry-imports-suspended-china-coronavirus/3233216001/