China finds virus on domestically produced frozen food for 1st time

Shanghai, China, Dec 16 (efe-epa).- The authorities of the city of Chuzhou, in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui, announced Wednesday that they have found Covid-19 on the packaging of frozen chicken.

This is the first time that SARS-CoV-2 has been detected on non-imported frozen products, according to official media reports.

China, on several occasions, has claimed to have detected the virus on the packaging of frozen food imported from other countries.

The latest instance of this was on Tuesday, when the authorities of Chongqing said they had detected the virus on the packaging of a shipment of frozen beef imported from Argentina, part of which had already been sold in various parts of this central municipality.

According to the disease prevention center of Lai’an county, which includes Chuzhou, a batch of frozen chicken legs from a local factory of the American multinational Cargill tested positive for the coronavirus.

In a statement released by the government of Chuzhou on its Weibo account, the institution said that emergency measures were taken immediately, including conducting tests on more than 2,700 employees, of which the results of about 2,300 have been released, all of them negative.

Moreover, 267 samples were taken from frozen food transport vehicles and production lines without any trace of the virus.

In recent months, China claims to have detected traces of the coronavirus on packages of cold-chain goods, several of them from Latin American countries such as Ecuador and Brazil, which has led Beijing to tighten regulations for imported frozen products, including mandatory testing of products from countries where the pandemic is still raging.

The shipments that have most tested positive, mainly on their packaging, have been shrimp, fish, beef and pork.

The country’s authorities point to imported frozen foods, especially meat and fish, as the main route of outbreaks of the virus in China, after local infections had been practically controlled in the country.

In fact, official media has already claimed that the initial outbreak of the pandemic, recorded in the central-eastern Chinese city of Wuhan, may have been linked to these types of imports.

However, the World Health Organization says there is no evidence that Covid-19 can be contracted from food or food packaging.

In the last few hours, the city of Dalian, in northeast China, announced that four employees of a refrigerated warehouse company had tested positive for Covid-19 – all them still asymptomatic – during routine tests, which has led to the authorities to temporarily seal all frozen products shipments found in the port, one of the most important in China. EFE-EPA


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