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COVID-19

Hundreds test positive at Tyson Foods plant in Arkansas

UPDATED: Sun., June 21, 2020

By Tamara Lush Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tyson Foods is looking into reports that China’s customs agency has suspended poultry imports from a Tyson facility in the United States after coronavirus cases were confirmed among its employees.

A Tyson spokesman said Sunday that the plant in question is in Springdale, Arkansas.

“At Tyson, we’re confident our products are safe and we’re hopeful consultations between the U.S. and Chinese governments will resolve this matter,” wrote spokesman Gary Mickelson in an email to The Associated Press.

“Our top priority is the health and safety of our team members, and we work closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to ensure that we produce all of our food in full compliance with government safety requirements,” the statement added.

Mickelson also noted that all global and U.S. health organizations, in addition to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, agree that there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.

The announcement out of China on Sunday gave no details of the quantity of meat affected.

On Friday, Tyson Foods announced the results of coronavirus testing at its facilities in Benton and Washington counties, Arkansas, and said that about 95% of employees who tested positive for the virus didn’t show any symptoms. Of the 3,748 employees tested, 481 tested positive for COVID-19.

In November, China lifted a five-year ban on U.S. poultry.

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