Chinese authorities found coronavirus on the packaging and in the container of imported frozen shrimps, but the food safety chief said on Friday the discovery did not mean the virus could be transmitted via food packaging.
Bi Kexin, director general of the Import and Export Food Safety Bureau under China’s General Administration of Customs, said in Beijing that six Covid-19 positive samples were found from nearly 223,000 samples taken from imported frozen food, the interior and exterior of the packaging and the surroundings, reports South China Morning Post.
Authorities have conducted more coronavirus tests on imported food after a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Beijing in mid-June linked to a food market where the coronavirus was found on a cutting board used for imported salmon. Experts have said the fish itself was unlikely to carry the virus.
The positive samples were found on the outside of food packaging and the inside of a container of white shrimp sold by three Ecuadorean companies. But samples from the seafood and the interior of the packaging tested negative, according to Bi.
“The results show that the container and the packaging of these companies are under the risk of becoming contaminated by the novel coronavirus. Experts said that while this does not mean they can transmit the virus, it shows that the management of food safety is not ideal,” Bi said.
Chinese customs has suspended the importing of food from the three companies and will return or destroy the food that was seized.
It has also urged the Ecuadorean authorities to step up its control of frozen food exported to China, Bi said.
Nearly 60,000 food samples from places including Zhejiang, Yunnan, Henan and Shandong provinces and the Ningxia Hui autonomous region had all been tested and found negative as of July 7, said Li Ning, deputy director of China’s National Centre for Food Safety Risk Assessment.