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Message for members in response to German COVID-19 pork plant closure

18th Jun 2020 / By Alistair Driver

A total of 657 people have tested positive a Tönnies abattoir in northwestern Germany, forcing the plant's closure.

The closure could have with implications for UK exports - see the Members Area for NPA comment on the situation.

According to German media outlet DW, just over 1,000 workers were tested at the Rheda-Wiedenbrück meat processing plant, in the district of Gütersloz.

The local authorities to shut down the plant as result of the tests and suspended all schools and daycare centers in the region until the summer holidays on June 29. Around 7,000 people in the area have been put in quarantine due to possible exposure to the virus, it is reported.

This is the latest such incident to hit German abattoirs, with several plants reporting massive outbreaks. The situation has put the spotlight on working conditions in meat plants and the working conditions of immigrant workers and has prompted a change in the law banning subcontractors, largely immigrants, from working in German meat plants from January 2021. 

A spokesman for Tönnies, Germany's leading meat processing, apologised at a press conference. Spokesman Andre Vielstädte said the business had worked "intensively" to 'keep the virus out of the company', WD reported.