June 1, 2020 / 7:12 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 2-Brazil's Marfrig, prosecutors agree to more protection for workers amid pandemic

(Adds statement from Marfrig saying it will test all workers)

SAO PAULO, June 1 (Reuters) - Meatpacker Marfrig Global Foods has signed a settlement with labor prosecutors in Brazil to improve protections for workers amid outbreaks of COVID-19 cases in food plants, labor prosecutors said in a statement on Monday.

Marfrig’s settlement, the prosecutors said, includes routine testing of workers for the novel coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 respiratory illness, and it imposes a mandatory 1.5 meters (5 feet) in physical distancing between workers at the company’s 12 plants in Brazil.

In a separate statement on Monday, Marfrig, which is majority owner of National Beef Co. LLC in the United States, said it would test all 18,000 workers starting on June 2 as part of its prevention efforts.

The testing routine Marfrig has agreed to may involve so-called rapid serological testing of workers and tests that use the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction molecular method, known as RT-PCR, for employees working “in shared environments,” the prosecutors said.

Marfrig must also immediately remove “symptomatic workers” from the plants until testing is conducted, for a minimum period of 14 days, in accordance with official health protocols. (Reporting and Writing by Ana Mano; Additional writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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