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Toennies slaughterhouse back in operation

A German abattoir and meatpacking plant that was closed due to coronavirus infections among workers has come back online.

17 July 2020, at 11:54am

Reuters reports that the slaughterhouse will be permitted to resume meat packing and processing on Friday 17 July, after authorities approved a new health and hygiene concept for the plant.

The Toennies abattoir was closed in mid June after about 1,500 workers tested positive for COVID-19 but was permitted to resume slaughtering animals on 16 July. The virus outbreak in turn caused a lockdown for 600,000 people in the surrounding Guetersloh region, which is now lifted.

The huge meatpacking and processing section of the Toennies plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck in North Rhine-Westphalia will be allowed resume processing and packing pigmeat in a test phase on 17 July, the local government authority Rheda-Wiedenbrueck said.

Some 2,714 personnel will be permitted to resume work in the processing section of the plant, the authority said.

The new hygiene regime includes changes to the plant’s ventilation system, separation of workstations through curtains, compulsory wearing of facemasks, two coronavirus tests a week for all production personnel and inspections of personnel accommodation if it is provided for them.

The plant normally slaughters and processes around 14 percent of Germany’s pigs, and the shutdown has caused a sharp fall in German pork prices.

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