The tide has turned since Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said: “People are literally not patroning Chinese restaurants, they’re not patroning Asian restaurants because of just straight up racism around the coronavirus.”
Coronavirus: food-related outbreaks raise new flags about supply security in China
PLUS: Norwegian salmon exporters feel China’s wrath
South China Morning Post, June 22, 2020
- In Europe, South America and the US, meat processing plants have been hotspots for the spread of the virus
- Many workers at meatpacking plants and slaughterhouses in the US and China are from marginalised populations, academic says
Beijing’s latest coronavirus outbreak shows the threat the pathogen poses to food supply after it forced the closure of the city’s largest wholesale market for meat, fish, fruit and vegetables.
The incident at Xinfadi, which provides Beijing’s 20 million-plus people with more than 80 per cent of their farm produce, serving thousands of customers a day, is one of several to hit food supply chains around the world. It also drew comparisons with the initial outbreak, which began at a food market in Wuhan.
Beijing has deployed emergency reserve food supplies and set up temporary markets to stave off shortages, state media reported. As of Monday, more than 230 people in the city had been infected, including a number of market workers.
In Europe, South America and the United States, meat processing plants have been hotspots for the spread of the virus, infecting thousands of workers and causing food security jitters.
Last week, a German meatpacking plant closed after nearly two-thirds of its more than 1,000 employees were found to be infected, while a poultry plant in Wales was closed after more than 50 workers fell ill. In the US, dozens of deaths have been linked to outbreaks at meat plants in recent months, according to Reuters.
As the pandemic infection rate shows no sign of slowing, experts say protecting workers and the global food supply requires an urgent broad approach to ensure workers’ rights and health are protected, facilities are sanitary and government support is in place … Read more.
Norwegian salmon exporters feel China’s wrath
May 28, 2012
Seafood Source – Norway’s salmon exports to China continue to be impacted by difficult diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Norwegian exporters have had to watch the Chinese salmon market grow 30 percent while Norway’s share has been eaten up by newcomers like Scotland.
“We are in a very difficult situation now. Importers, distributors, everyone is finding it very difficult to get Norwegian salmon,” said Sigmund Bjorgo, director of China and Hong Kong at the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC).
Volume from Norway shrunk 60 percent in 2011, largely due to new veterinary inspections that made access to the Chinese market much more difficult. Observers see the stricter inspections as retaliation by China for last year’s Nobel peace prize being awarded to a Chinese dissident in Oslo (by the non-government Nobel committee).
Meanwhile, other salmon importers, including the Faroe Islands, Denmark and Australia, have also reported increased scrutiny, said Bjorgo. Now, he explained, Norwegian salmon imports are running behind 2010 levels “in a growing market,” while newcomer Scotland has become a “big player.”
Norwegian food safety authorities have sought to organize meetings between the Norwegian and Chinese food safety and veterinary offices but so far has been unable to confirm meetings with the Beijing side.
“We are positive it can be resolved but don’t know the time frame,” said Bjorgo, adding that Norway will continue to invest in growing its presence in China. His office is in a transitional period this year while it waits to appoint a new local PR firm to head its mainland China marketing campaign … Read more.