Crucial pig processing site re-opens after Covid closure

The pig processing plant was temporarily shut following the discovery (Photo: Google)
The pig processing plant was temporarily shut following the discovery (Photo: Google)

An important pig processing site which was closed for two weeks following an outbreak of Covid-19 among its workforce has now reopened.

Production at Cranswick Country Foods factory, Co Antrim was temporarily halted following the discovery of a coronavirus cluster.

The factory is one of the main meat processing sites in NI for pigs and was closed for two weeks.

Cranswick, one of the UK's largest pig processors, said the health and safety of all its colleagues was its number one priority.

Farming groups have now welcomed news of the site's reopening, with the Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) calling it 'positive news' for pig producers

It thanked pig processors for working together and helping the site re-open following its closure.

UFU president Victor Chestnutt said: “The UFU committed a lot of time to minimise the impact of Cranswick’s closure hosting discussions to get the factory running again as soon as it became a safe environment for staff and farmers to return to.

"The safety of everyone remained a priority while we worked to ensure that the pig trade was not disrupted and farmers were not left struggling to house pigs for lengthier periods than initially planned.

“We encourage them to continue working together in such an effective manner, maximising the throughput of pigs and alleviating any backlog which may have been starting to occur on farms.”

Cranswick is not the first meat processor to have coronavirus cases amongst its workforce.

In June, Asda was forced to temporarily shut down its West Yorkshire meat site after 165 staff tested positive for Covid-19.

2 Sisters - which produces a third of all poultry products consumed in the UK - shut its Anglesey meat plant after an outbreak infected 13 factory workers.

Elsewhere, in Germany, Europe's largest meat processing site was hit by an outbreak which resulted in approximately 7,000 people being quarantined.