Slaughterhouses that fail to demonstrate tomorrow evening that they are doing everything possible to prevent corona infections are closing. That says Minister Schouten of Agriculture, Nature and Food Safety.
Tomorrow evening she will have a conversation with the meat sector, because several hot spots have been found there. Schouten: “They have to show that they are taking measures. Then I will consider whether it is safe enough for the inspection staff of the NVWA.”
Schouten is responsible for the employees of the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, who supervise daily affairs in slaughterhouses. The cabinet wants to know more about the working and living conditions of the slaughterhouse employees through the SZW inspection.
Schouten: “It is not only about the situation in the slaughterhouses themselves, but also about how staff are transported to and from the slaughterhouses and how they live.” The cabinet has asked the GGDs if they want to test all slaughterhouse employees for the corona virus.
Many slaughterhouse employees in the Netherlands and Germany are infected with the corona virus. It is not yet certain exactly what that is. But it is suspected that it has to do with the shortage in the slaughterhouses and the fact that employees cannot keep to the 1.5 meters distance.
Furthermore, many slaughterhouse employees are migrant workers who live together in small living quarters and go to work with a van every day. Because of these circumstances, the FNV union has already advocated working at half power.
Chairman Jos Goebbels of the Central Organization for the Meat Sector (COV) said in the NOS Radio 1 News that he does not understand why many infections are found in slaughterhouses. He says the companies had protocols early on. “For example, we only let people drive from one house together, and vans can be kept a meter and a half away.”
Dozens of employees in Groenlo, Scherpenzeel and Bramstedt have tested positive at locations of slaughterhouse Vion and many hundreds of employees are in quarantine.