- Three Chinese cities have discovered coronavirus on the packaging of imported frozen food in a span of four days.
- WHO has understated the risk of the virus entering the food chain in a briefing.
Three Chinese cities have reported finding traces of coronavirus on imported frozen food over a span of four days. The news came on Thursday, raising concerns over imported frozen food shipments leading to possible new outbreaks.
Health officials in the south-eastern city of Shenzhen informed that a sample taken from the surface of frozen chicken wings imported into the city tested positive for the virus. The virus was detected as part of routine screenings being carried out on meat and seafood imports since June in the wake of an outbreak in Beijing linked to a major wholesale food market.
Shenzhen authorities identified the chicken as originating from a plant owned by Aurora, Brazil’s third-largest poultry and pork exporter.
Everyone who could have possibly come in contact with the potentially contaminated food products have been traced and tested, the Shenzhen Municipal Health Commission said in a statement. It further informed that all the people tested negative.
“All the citizens should be cautious in buying imported frozen meat products and aquatic products in recent days,” the commission warned the city’s 12 million residents.
The news comes just after a day when health officials detected the coronavirus on the packaging of frozen shrimp imported from Ecuador. In this case, the virus too was detected in another routine screening at a restaurant in the south-east city of Wuhu.
On Monday, health officials also detected the virus in Yantai in eastern China. The coronavirus was said to be discovered on the outer packaging of frozen seafood transported by a foreign ship. It was not clear where the food was imported from.
But World Health Organization (WHO) has downplayed the risk of the virus entering the food chain.
“People should not fear food, food packaging or delivery of food,” the World Health Organization’s head of emergencies programme Mike Ryan told a briefing.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Agriculture Department said in a joint statement “there is no evidence that people can contract COVID-19 from food or from food packaging.”
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