The huge Tönnies processing plant, in Germany, that was recently forced to close to a COVID-19 outbreak still has more work to do to convince the authorities it is safe to re-open.
The plant in north-western Germany reportedly accounts for 12 to 14% of German pork production and its closure after more than 1,500 workers tested positive for COVID-19 has had a knock-on effect on UK cull sow sales, as well as the German and wider EU market.
The chief executive of the Guetersloh district, where the plant is located,, has said it cannot reopen until the authorities are satisfied with its hygiene procedures, according to Reuters.
Sven-Georg Adenauer said in a news conference on Tuesday that the plant could only be reopened if there is ‘no threat to the people who work in this company and also not to the people in the Guetersloh region’. Around 600,000 people in Guetersloh were forced back into lockdown on June 23 after the scale of the Tönnies outbreak emerged.
The plant has provisionally been ordered to close up to July 17, Mr Adenauer said. The company had reportedly presented a hygiene plan to authorities that, while in the right direction, ‘still needs work’, he said, adding that he believed ‘the company will undertake this’, he said. He said it was still not possible to say when the plant would reopen.
Health and safety officials continue to inspect it and negotiate with the company over the new hygiene plan. Another round of assessments will be made on Thursday.
Tönnies has previously apologised and said it is working closely with authorities on a hygiene plan to achieve a reopening.