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China halts food imports from Brazil amid COVID-19 spike

By News Desk

The Chinese Government has suspended importation of products from two additional Brazilian pork plants owned by meatpackers, JBS SA, and BRF SA, as it cracks down on meat shipments amid concerns about the new coronavirus.

China is temporarily halting imports from a BRF plant in Lajeado and a JBS-owned Seara brand plant in Tres Passos, both in Brazil’s southern Rio Grande do Sul state.

Although the General Administration of Customs China (GACC) in a statement yesterday did not state reasons for its action, Brazil is reeling from the second-worst COVID-19 outbreak in the world behind the United States.

China is the largest buyer of Brazilian pork, beef, and chicken. It has requested that meat exporters globally certify their products are coronavirus free, which BRF, JBS, and other Brazilian meatpackers have already done.

A total of six Brazil meat plants have now been blocked from exporting to China amid rising concerns over thousands of cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, among slaughterhouse workers in the country.

A JBS representative said the company would not comment on the decision and stated it was taking various measures to ensure its food is of the highest quality and that its workers are protected.

BRF and Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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