July 27, 2020
China implements COVID-19 guidelines for meat processing companies
China's National Health Commission (NHC) introduced COVID-19 control guidelines aimed at meat processing companies, which include virus testing for imported livestock and poultry products, Reuters reported.
The guidelines were introduced after a spate of COVID-19 outbreaks reported at meat plants in Europe and the Americas. China has banned meat imports from affected plants.
Before being allowed for processing at Chinese plants, imported meat must be issued a certificate proving that it has passed nucleic acid tests for COVID-19. The products must also be issued with other certificates, documents and inspection records.
The NHC said the meat plant companies must retain records of the meat and poultry sources, with a complete traceability mechanism in place.
In another statement, the NHC said meat plants have a high risk of COVID-19 transmission as it is closed and densely populated with workers working under low temperatures.
Meat processors have been told to thoroughly clean and sterilize all working units, such as farming, slaughtering, packing plants and cold storage.
According to the statement, livestock must be sourced from non-epidemic areas. No specific region was identified. In addition, five environmental samples from slaughtering, cutting, and packing plants must be collected by Meat processors in medium- and high-risk areas for COVID-19 testing. Low risk areas need only to conduct sample tests once weekly.