The Maple Leaf Foods hog plant at Brandon, Man., has temporarily suspended pork exports to China on a voluntary basis. China has recently instituted new rules where any plant reporting COVID-19 cases is required to suspend exports.
The Brandon plant has seen over 50 cases of COVID-19 among employees in the last few weeks, accounting for nearly half of new cases in the health region.
Maple Leaf Foods says it is continuing its health safety efforts at the plant to prevent workplace transmission, saying that “Public Health experts have said on numerous occasions that there is no evidence of workplace transmission occurring at the plant.”
To reduce spread of COVID-19 within the community, Maple Leaf is in the process of distributing 500,000 free masks to the community.
Maple Leaf says the Brandon plant has been impacted by short-term increases in absenteeism.
“We are confident in our Maple Leaf Safety Promise – providing consumers with safe, great tasting food made in a safe working environment – but, we respect China’s new import protocols for Canadian products and are working cooperatively with Canadian and Chinese authorities to resume exports quickly,” says Michael McCain, president and CEO.