Wuhan detects COVID-19 in packages of frozen meat imported from Brazil

Beijing, Nov 13 (efe-epa).- The outer packaging of three samples of frozen beef imported from Brazil tested positive for coronavirus and banned from entering the market following an analysis in Wuhan, China, the country’s Municipal Commission reported Friday.

In a statement, the commission said Thursday that the municipal department of disease control and prevention, after analyzing the packages, discovered that three samples of boneless beef that entered the Qingdao customs tested positive.

The city “quickly adopted emergency measures,” the statement said, including cargo storage, inspection and isolation of personnel, overnight sampling, and nucleic acid testing of the environment and personnel outside of cold storage, in addition to simultaneous epidemiological investigations.

After the investigation, it was detected that the batch of imported products – which consisted of 1,006 boxes with a total of 27 tons of meat – had left the port of Santos in Brazil and arrived in Wuhan on Aug. 17, although it had not yet accessed to the market.

At 07:00 local time today (23:00 GMT on Thursday) “all the frozen products involved were sealed and the environment was completely sterilized,” the local health commission said.

It added that the 200 samples from the cold room environment of the large reserve warehouse where the packages were found and its 112 employees tested negative for COVID-19.

The city has issued a notice on “additional strengthening” of the virus tests for imported food from the cold chain to carry out inspections of all of them in the city.

In addition, the commission told citizens to respect the prevention and control measures of the epidemic, not to buy imported frozen food “privately” and to actively check the product’s COVID-19 test report before consumption.

It is not the first time China has found traces of the novel coronavirus in packages of frozen food imported from Brazil.

On Nov. 1, it said it had detected the virus in the packaging of a batch of frozen pork that tested positive in the city of Yantai, in eastern Shandong province.

The lot was found in a Yantai specialty barbecue restaurant and fish market.

The health department tracked down all close contacts related to those Brazilian pork products and tested them for COVID-19 at designated hospitals.

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

China has also detected the virus on several occasions in packages of frozen food from Ecuador.

The last time was also Nov. 1 in the packaging of frozen fish from the Ecuadorian company Firexpa.

On Jul. 10, traces of coronavirus were discovered in the outer packaging of Ecuadorian white shrimp from three companies: Industrial Pesquera Santa Priscila, Empacreci and Edpacif, for which China temporarily suspended its imports and ordered the withdrawal of all packages of this type having arrived since Mar. 12.

Subsequently, the companies were again authorized to resume their sales after improving their control protocols.

Given the various cases detected in frozen foods, China said in early November it will suspend imports for a week of those products that test positive for the virus and for a month if it is the third time or more. EFE-EPA


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