August 20, 2020
Canada's Maple Leaf voluntarily suspends pork exports to China due to COVID-19
Meat processor Maple Leaf Foods based in Canada announced it will stop exports voluntarily to China after detecting a COVID-19 outbreak at its plant in Manitoba, Reuters reported.
Ontario company Maple Leaf said it is following new Chinese government procedures drawn up for Canadian meat processors. The new measures compel Canadian plants that report positive COVID-19 outbreaks to temporarily stop exports to China.
Michael McCain, Maple Leaf chief executive said the company is working with authorities in Canada and China to resume exports as soon as possible.
Maple Leaf's shares were up 2.03% at CAD 30.20 (~US$22.84; CAD 1 = US$0.76)on the Toronto Stock Exchange on August 19.
55 workers have tested positive for COVID-19 at Maple Leaf's Manitoba plant. Janet Riley, Maple Leaf spokeswomen said two have recovered.
Riley said the plant remains in operation and health officials have found that there is no evidence of virus transmission in the workplace.
Canada is the third biggest pork exporter in the world. China imported CAD 609 million (~US$462.7 million) worth of Canadian pork last year, becoming Canada's third biggest market for pork exports in value and volume.
Maple Leaf said the temporary ban on exports to China is short term and is not a 'material financial event" as it serves various markets.
Seven meat processing plants in Argentina have stopped exports to China following COVID-19 outbreaks among their workers.