ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
Coronavirus

China finds COVID cluster at major chicken processing plant

Ten cases confirmed at Thai conglomerate CP's plant in northeast city of Harbin

Medical workers wait to collect COVID-19 test swabs from rescue workers on Friday at the Hushan gold mine in Qixia, China, where workers were trapped underground after an explosion on Jan. 10.   © Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) -- China reported its first cluster of COVID-19 cases among workers in a meat processing plant, raising fears among local consumers who have until now mainly worried about the safety of imported foods.

Ten confirmed cases were found in a factory which slaughters 50 million chickens a year in the northeastern city of Harbin and is owned by Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand, one of the world's top poultry producers.

Another 28 workers at the plant and three family members were asymptomatic, officials told a news briefing on Thursday.

While China repeatedly pointed to imported frozen meat and fish as the source of coronavirus cases last year, it has not reported significant clusters in its own food processing sector.

Meatpacking workers in the United States, Brazil and across Europe were among the groups hit hardest by COVID-19 last year, with thousands of slaughterhouse staff infected.

The cluster in the C.P. plant was detected as part of routine screening of people in the region, which has seen a surge in cases in recent weeks.

Samples taken from inside the slaughterhouse, its cold storage area and the outside of product packaging during inspections earlier this week had also been found positive for the virus, city officials said.

The factory could not be reached for comment on the outbreak. Two executives involved in the group's chicken business declined to comment and referred Reuters to the headquarters, which could not be reached.

News of the outbreak was trending on China's Twitter-like platform Weibo, with some netizens urging others not to eat CP products.

Some said community officials had already ordered a recall of the factory's products. Reuters was unable to confirm.

CP is one of China's top chicken processors and also a well-known brand of eggs and other processed foods.

The World Health Organization has said people should not fear food or food packaging during the pandemic.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends October 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more