June 16, 2020
China ramps up fresh and frozen meat and seafood inspections after COVID-19 outbreak
Several provinces in China have implemented stricter fresh and frozen meat and seafood inspections, including imported goods, after COVID-19 infections were discovered related to a Beijing food market, Reuters reported.
The new stringent inspections have resulted in concerns related to cargo delays or a suspension on imports.
China is the biggest purchase of meat in the world, with imports this year at 4 million tonnes.
The last four days saw 79 COVID-19 positive detections linked to Beijing's wholesale food market Xinfadi, the biggest in Asia. There are concerns that the virus has contaminated food at the market after the virus was detected on a chopping block for cutting salmon.
Supermarkets across the country stopped selling salmon, while suppliers from Norway said salmon imports have been stopped.
Officials from Beijing confirmed that all samples from markets in the capital have tested negative for COVID-19. However, officials from Guangdong, Henan, Hebei, Yunnan and Tianjin have announced stringent food safety inspections.
In Guangdong, nucleic acid testing will be conducted on fresh and frozen pork, beef, lamb, chicken and seafood. The tests will also include imported frozen foods, and will cover farmers' markets, refrigerated warehouses, supermarkets and catering services.
A source told Reuters that Tianjin had rolled out COVID-19 tests on imports of meat upon port arrival, but the scale of inspections isn't confirmed.
A poultry importer manager said there is concern that imports could be suspended by the government, although this is expected to be a short term measure.
A trader from Henan said frozen meat inspections may drive up live swine prices.