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Hong Kong to ban chicken imports from Brazil’s Aurora amid massive COVID-19 testing scheme

Brazil’s Aurora, the country’s third largest chicken and pork processor, confirms that Hong Kong has blocked imports from its poultry plant in Xaxim, Santa Catarina over COVID-19 fears.

18 August 2020, at 8:29am

Reuters reports that the ban comes on the same day that Aurora was ordered and agreed to test 11,000 workers for the novel coronavirus starting on 21 August at four of its plants.

Aurora, which last week was identified by Chinese authorities as the origin of chicken products with alleged traces of coronavirus, deferred to a statement from meat lobby ABPA for comment on the situation and the next steps.

"Regarding the announcement made by the Hong Kong authorities, the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA) informs that it is supporting the company for the presentation of clarifications," the statement said.

ABPA reiterated that there is no evidence the novel coronavirus is transmitted by food.

Aurora has not been formally notified of the Hong Kong decision, ABPA's statement said, adding it may resort to the World Trade Organization to resolve the issue as the ban "lacked a scientific base."

Under the agreement between Aurora and the prosecutors announced Monday 17 August, coronavirus testing will be done in two stages at intervals of 14 to 21 days at the four facilities.

Aurora will pay for tests using the RT-PCR method on workers at the Guatambu, Xaxim and two Chapecó units, according to the labour prosecutors' statement. Some 2,279 Xaxim plant workers will be tested.

A total of 22,000 tests may be applied, representing 10 percent of the total tests done in Santa Catarina state the beginning of the pandemic, the statement said.

Read more about this story in Reuters.