July 21, 2020 / 4:29 PM / 17 days ago

German abattoir ramping up output after virus outbreak

HAMBURG, July 21 (Reuters) - The German abattoir hit by a coronavirus outbreak is increasing output but still working below capacity, it said on Tuesday.

The Toennies plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck reopened its slaughterhouse and meat packing operations on Thursday and Friday after it bolstered health and safety procedures.

The site, which is particularly important for the German pig farming sector, closed in mid-June after about 1,500 workers tested positive for COVID-19. The outbreak in turn led to about 600,000 people in the surrounding region being put back into lockdown, which has since been lifted.

The Rheda-Wiedenbrueck plant in North Rhine-Westphalia normally slaughters about 14% of Germany’s pigs.

“The company is currently still slaughtering with reduced capacity,” Toennies said on Tuesday.

With large numbers of pigs due to be slaughtered, and growing larger during the delay, Toennies said it would change its pricing scheme to allow heavier animals to be sent for slaughter.

Authorities have allowed another slaughterhouse in north Germany owned by another company to continue operations while a coronavirus outbreak is being investigated. (Reporting by Michael Hogan; editing by Mark Potter)

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