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Producers urged to step up precautions as processors continue to face COVID-19 challenges

12th May 2020 / By Alistair Driver

For the first few weeks of the COIVD crisis, pork plants managed to operate relatively smoothly with only minimal disruption.

abattoir workersHowever, COVID-19 issues relating to staff absence continue to be reported in meat processing plants, including pork sites, demonstrating that this disease outbreak is far from over.

Other sectors have suffered too with the most recent and highest profile example at Moy Park’s chicken processing plant, in Northern Ireland, where a worker has died. The Unite Union has raised concerns about a number of plants in Northern Ireland, while NPA is also aware of several plants in England that are having difficulties.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: “We do not want to unduly alarm people – as things stand there is enough capacity for the industry to cope with any disruption.

“But it is important to bear in mind that we are still very much dependent on the supply chain operating well and we are nowhere near the end of this outbreak. 

“We urge everyone to be mindful of the need to maintain the strict biosecurity and hygiene measures that many businesses put in place at the start of the outbreak. We must keep this up and not relax too early. We only have to look at the US to see how dire things can get if we are not careful.

“We also advise producers to continue pulling pigs forward where possible to make sure that there is still some slack in the system.”

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