Pork processor latest abattoir to be hit by coronavirus

Victorian meatworks coronavirus cases grow

Coronavirus
LATEST OUTBREAK: Diamond Valley Pork, Laverton North, is the latest Victorian abattoir or meat processing plant to record a coronavirus outbreak.

LATEST OUTBREAK: Diamond Valley Pork, Laverton North, is the latest Victorian abattoir or meat processing plant to record a coronavirus outbreak.

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Pork processor latest Victorian abattoir to be hit by coronavirus.

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Laverton North processor Diamond Valley Pork (DVP) is the latest Victorian abattoir, or meat processing plant, to report an outbreak of coronavirus.

By yesterday the plant, which has the capacity to process more than 2500 pigs a day, had recorded six cases.

As of July 26, the total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Victoria stood at 8181 with another 459 new cases diagnosed on Saturday.

It's believed DVP has shut, with no timeframe for reopening.

Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance president Tammi Jonas, from Jonai Farms, Eganstown, uses DVP.

She, husband Stuart and their family run Jonai Farms, producing pastured, heritage breed large black pigs and Speckline cattle, just outside Daylesford.

On social media, Ms Jonas said she'd been informed DVP had closed, due to a coronavirus outbreak.

"(It's) something we've been bracing for throughout the pandemic," she told her Facebook followers.

Ms Jonas said it underscored the need to build regional "value chain" abattoirs, to decentralise control of the food system'

That would increase local control and resilience, in the face of coronavirus and future shocks.

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DVP is the latest meat processing plant to report a coronavirus outbreak, a sector which has found itself at the front line of Victoria's second wave..

As of yesterday, 90 cases have been linked to Somerville Retail Services, Tottenham, 69 to JBS' Brooklyn, 60 cases to Bertocchi Smallgoods, Thomastown, 47 cases to Australian Lamb Company, Colac and five cases to Don KR, Castlemaine.

On its website, DVP says it is a quality pork processor and wholesaler.

"DVP supplies products and services to both export and domestic markets,' the site says.

"It has a fully integrated system which includes an abattoir, boning room, value adding operations and offal sales."

The first outbreak was at Cedar Meats, in May.

At least 111 people associated with Cedar Meats, which reopened in late May after a month's closure, tested positive to coronavirus.

Thomas Elder Markets analyst Matt Dalgleish said pigs detined for DVP were going to other abattoirs, for processing.

He said the impact would depend on how long the facility was shut, or whether the virus got into other works.

"Pigs can't be held off slaughter as easily as cattle or lamb," M Dalgleish said.

He said a backlog of pigs, as happened in America, could be avoided, if the plant got on top of the outbreak quickly.

In America, more than 16,000 meat workers contracted the virus in April and May.

That ballooned out to about nine per cent of the workforce, infected in some states, according to Centers for Disease Control figures.

"(The authorities) need quick testing of meatworks staff, particularly those that process pigs," Mr Dalgleish said.

"The pig sector can't be offline too long, before it impacts the supply chain."

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