Coronavirus found on frozen food imported to Chinese cities

Coronavirus found on frozen food imported to Chinese cities

Coronavirus found on frozen food imported to Chinese cities

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Traces of coronavirus have been found in frozen food imports in two Chinese cities.

Two cities discovered the bug in cargoes of imported food, local authorities said yesterday, but the World Health Organisation (WHO) downplayed the risk of it entering the food chain, reports the Daily Star.

A sample taken from the surface of frozen chicken wings imported into the southern city of Shenzhen from Brazil, as well as samples of outer packaging of frozen Ecuadorian shrimp sold in the northwestern city of Xian, have tested positive for the virus, local Chinese authorities said.

As confirmed cases of Covid-19 continue to rise across the world, the discoveries raise fresh concerns that it can spread on surfaces and enter the food chain.

Viruses can survive up to two years at temperatures of minus 20C, but scientists and officials say there is no strong evidence that the coronavirus can spread via frozen food.

“People should not fear food, food packaging or delivery of food,” the WHO’s head of emergencies programme Mike Ryan told a briefing.

The US Food and Drug Administration and Agriculture Department said in a joint statement that “there is no evidence that people can contract Covid-19 from food or from food packaging”.

This week Chinese authorities also found the virus on packaging of imported frozen seafood in an area which has seen a recent spike in cases. It arrived from the port city of Dalian, which recently battled a surge of Covid, including among workers at a seafood processing plant.

The latest outbreak of coronavirus in Dalian city started in late July, with the first case hitting a seafood processing company. By August 9, the city had reported a total of 92 cases.

Authorities said on Tuesday the potentially deadly virus was found on the outer packaging of frozen seafood shipped in by three companies based in Yantai, a port city in eastern Shandong province.

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