June 11, 2019 / 3:34 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil's Minerva to furlough 635 workers amid beef export ban

(Adds details from Minerva’s statement)

SAO PAULO, June 11 (Reuters) - Brazilian meat-packer Minerva SA is furloughing 635 workers at its Barretos plant for two weeks to carry out maintenance there, according to a statement the company sent to Reuters on Tuesday.

Minerva said the stoppage, from June 17 to June 30, would coincide with the suspension of beef exports to China that was imposed by Brazil’s government last week after a case of atypical mad cow disease was reported in Mato Grosso state.

During the furlough, the company said, Minerva can continue to export beef to Asia from other plants in South America, referring to four units belonging to subsidiary Athena Foods based in Uruguay and Argentina, which were not affected by Brazil’s temporary ban.

Barretos has capacity to slaughter 840 head of cattle per day and is Mineva’s only plant in Brazil certified to export beef to China, the meatpacker said.

Minerva said it expects the Brazilian ban on beef exports to China to be short-lived as the World Organisation for Animal Health, in 2015, excluded atypical cases of mad cow disease from its evaluation of a country’s sanitary status. (Reporting by Ana Mano Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Steve Orlofsky)

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