Brazil's JBS says China lifted pandemic-related bans on two meat plants

FILE PHOTO: An employee of the JBS SA poultry factory walks after the company was hit by an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Passo Fundo, state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, July 28, 2020. REUTERS/Diego Vara

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil-based meatpacker JBS SA said on Wednesday China has lifted bans on two meat plants imposed in 2020 over coronavirus concerns.

The company said in a statement the lifting of the bans raised to 25 the total number of JBS plants in Brazil authorized to sell meat to China. JBS said no other of its Brazilian plants is currently restricted by China, the biggest buyer of Brazil’s meat exports.

The bans lifted concerned two JBS plants in Brazil’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul. One is located in Três Passos and the other is in Passo Fundo, where the company produces pork and chicken products, respectively.

Both plants faced outbreaks of the novel coronavirus among employees last year, leading to production disruptions and ultimately the Chinese suspension.

Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Steve Orlofsky