by Ana Mano
SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian meat companies are poised to increase production and exports this year as sales to China continue to exceed expectations and the COVID-19 pandemic has failed to deter local food processors, according to ABPA, a lobby group representing pork and chicken suppliers.
The local companies, which have kept production virtually at a normal pace even after plants suffered from outbreaks of the respiratory disease, project a potential 33% rise of pork exports, to up to 1 million tonnes this year, and a potential 5% growth in chicken exports, to 4.450 million tonnes, ABPA executives told a press conference on Wednesday.
While ABPA members have reassured Chinese buyers local products are “COVID-19 free” following outbreaks at certain production units, it said meat cargoes destined for the Asian country are not being tested ahead of shipping.
“We are certain meat does not transmit the disease,” said Ricardo Santin, ABPA executive director.
U.S. poultry exporters are not testing shipments to China either, said Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council. He said U.S. poultry products are still entering China and that he is unaware of China rejecting shipments because exporters did not make assurances that they were free of the coronavirus.
“We know that poultry cannot be a vector for the virus,” Sumner said.
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