Covid-19: Impact on the global poultry sector

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China accepts Argentinean "covid free" guarantee

5 Argentinean processors, that had voluntarily suspended their exports to China, are back in business and trading with China.

The 5 slaughterhouses had cases of covid-19 among employees recently, but are now free of the disease. The additional guarantee was recognised officially by the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) and matches to Beijing’s efforts to prevent reintroduction of the new coronavirus into its territory from food imports.

Chicken products can flow freely into China, with the correct guarantees on paper that is. Photo: Poultry World
Chicken products can flow freely into China, with the correct guarantees on paper that is. Photo: Poultry World

The alleged detection of covid-19 traces in frozen chicken wings from Brazil increased the stringency of municipal authorities in Guangdong province. As Brazilian newspaper Valor reported, Beijing and Brasília are negotiating a protocol to increase security to face covid-19 in Brazilian slaughterhouses that are qualified to export to the Chinese market.

Guaranteeing safety in slaughterhouses

On the one hand, China has the pivotal goal of imposing “zero risk” on food imports. On the other, there is a difference between what the Ministry of Agriculture can legally do and the “zero risk” required by the Asian country. This led to the Argentinean proactive approach to include the new certificate to guarantee safety in slaughterhouses. Apparently, the additional “anti-covid” statement is being applied for units that have had cases of the disease. Success was imminent. The Argentine government’s decision immediately restored market access to China for the 5 slaughterhouses, 4 to cattle and 1 to chicken production.

Brazilian processors still benched

On the Brazilian side, 7 slaughterhouses have suspended their sales to China. Among them, 3 poultry processors. Differently from Argentina, the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture (MAPA) has suspended just one plant due to cases of covid-19. The protocol for resuming exports might be more difficult for the Brazilian processors compared to the proactive Argentinean ones.

China: Traces of Covid-19 found in imported frozen food
Chinese authorities say the virus was found in imported shipments of frozen food, one of which came from Brazil.

The Chinese territory decided to block imports from the Aurora processing facility last week, from which the batch of wings with alleged traces of covid-19 was exported. After this new embargo, the Brazilian government decided to send agricultural attachés from Beijing to the city of Shenzeng, in southern China, to investigate the alleged contamination case.