China bans Dutch pork imports
China decided to suspend pork imports from the Netherlands as of this week without offering any details on the decision. However, Dutch officials believe that a hike in COVID-19 infections reported among workers in slaughterhouses may stand behind Beijing's announcement. Dutch government spokeswoman Elise van den Bosch confirmed that the Chinese authorities have banned meat delivered by four of the largest Dutch abattoirs. "Clearly, China is looking for the source of its second wave of COVID-19 infections, which they might feel could come from imported meat. But there is no scientific evidence for the possible transmission of the virus through food or packaging materials," she said, according to Reuters. Most of the slaughterhouses in Southern and Central Europe or Scandinavian area are operated by migrant workers, who work close to each other and often share cramped housing facilities. This has led to large coronavirus outbreaks at many of them in recent months in countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy etc. Dutch pork exports to China ran to a total of 299,000 tonnes last year, with a total value of €335 million.
Since the beginning of July, Dutch pig meat prices in several European markets have dropped by €0.22 - €0.30, according to sources reporting from Poland. Last month, meat imports from Tonnies have been suspended by China due to large outbreak of COVID-19 reported by the German company.