Business & Economy

Ecuador seeks details after China finds virus on imported seafood packaging

Quito, Nov 2 (EFE).- Ecuador has sought details from China after traces of the novel coronavirus were detected on the packaging of a batch of imported frozen fish.

The government on Sunday ratified compliance with biosafety protocols of export products after China suspended imports of an Ecuadorian company, Firexpa, following the detection of traces of the virus in a container of frozen pomfret.

An official statement said the Ecuadorian foreign trade ministry “has requested additional details” from China about the traces of the virus on the container to enable “necessary corrective measures, if applicable.”

The Chinese customs authorities decided on Saturday to suspend the clearance of products of the Ecuadorian company for a week if frozen food products tested positive for coronavirus.

The suspension would be for a month if a supplier’s products tested positive for a third time or more.

The statement noted that the aquaculture and fisheries department officials maintain permanent control and monitoring throughout its production chain.

It said the strategies and action plans include strict compliance with the national control plan and the biosafety protocols, guidelines for the prevention of Covid-19 of the National Committee for Emergency Operations.

The statement said the government was open to address all the concerns “to guarantee the safety and biosecurity of the food exported from our country.”

It said permanent contact would continue with the Chinese authorities “to carry out all the necessary verifications to strengthen these processes.”

China, on July 10, found traces of the coronavirus on the outer packaging of Ecuadorian white shrimp from three companies: Industrial Pesquera Santa Priscila, Empacreci and Edpacif.

The authorities temporarily suspended imports from the three companies and ordered the withdrawal of all such packages that had arrived in the country since March 12.

Subsequently, the companies were authorized to resume exports to China after improving their control protocols.

Ecuador alleges that since the traces of the virus have been found on the outer packaging or on container walls, the infection can have any origin, and not specifically be related to the handling of the product in Ecuadorian industries.

Even so, and to continue exporting to China and other markets, the country’s production ministry has intensified surveillance measures in all fishing and packaging processes.

On Aug. 13, traces of coronavirus were also found on the surface of a batch of frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, in the southern province of Guangzhou. EFE


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