June 24, 2020


More global food exporters to China declare shipments free from COVID-19


Grains and meat exporters from the United States, Brazil and Canada have agreed to or decidingto meetChina's request to declare their shipments to the country free from COVID-19, Reuters reported.


The move by China is aimed at preventing future COVID-19 risks after another outbreak was discovered at Beijing's Xinfadi wholesale food market.


Major Brazilian meat producers JBS SA, Minerva SA and Marfig Global Foods SA have signed the declaration stating their meat exports are safe from COVID-19.


The biggest meat supplier in the US, Tyson Foods said it signed the declaration as it is confident in their products' safety. Purdue Farms, a rival poultry company said it adhered to guidelines provided by the United Nations food agency and World Health Organization.


A source in contact with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) told Reuters that the USDA and trade representatives have informed US meat exporters that they will need to decide on their own to sign China's declaration.


As for soybeans, Sergio Mendes, director general of Brazil's export grain association Anec said the group is working on its response to the declaration. He said COVID-19 contamination is impossible as ship loading is automated.


Zhang Xiaoping, China director of the US Soybean Export Council said local customs authorities are ensuring cargoes will be free from COVID-19 contamination.


Ron Davidson, Soy Canada executive director said China's request is deemed by the Canadian government as a private sector subject and will not recommend if exporter should sign the declaration.


Charles Hurburgh, Iowa State University grain quality expert and professor of agricultural engineering said port workers are at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection when unloading soybeans, compared to the soybeans getting contaminated. 


China is the biggest soybean purchaser in the world and is projected to import close to 94 million tonnes of soybean in the 2019 / 20 crop year.


Traders Bunge Ltd and Louis Dreyfus Co did not reply immediately to comment requests by Reuters. Archer Daniels Midland Co and Cargill Inc have refused to comment.


-      Reuters