November 16, 2020
China finds COVID-19 coronavirus on imported frozen beef, pork, and shrimp
Several cities in China have detected COVID-19 coronavirus traces on imported frozen beef, pork, and shrimp, resulting in tougher restrictions needing "full coverage" testing and disinfection for imported food products and triggering disruptive import bans, Reuters reported.
This includes Hubei (Wuhan city), Shandong (Jinan city) and Jiongsu province detecting coronavirus on beef and tripe and their packaging from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, and New Zealand; Henan (Zhengzhou city) and Shaanxi (Xian city) province reporting coronavirus on frozen pork; and Gansu (Lanzhou city) province confirming coronavirus on imported shrimp packaging from Saudi Arabia.
The names of the companies that exported the products were not named. The National Health Commission said 99 suppliers from 20 countries have been suspended from exports to China.
Tightened guidelines in China state that there is strict entry refusal for any product suspected to be in contact with COVID-19 coronavirus. Imports are subjected to inner and outer packaging disinfection as well as blanket testing.
Exporters face a week-long ban if their products test positive, with the ban extended to one month if their products test positive three times.
Cold chain facilities and storage centres were the virus was detected have been shut down, with workers tested for COVID-19.
An importer from Henan province, who works with logistics for imported seafood and fruit, said they can't import any seafood as rectification works have not been completed for their warehouses.
Import hubs in China like Beijing and Guangzhou have called on companies to stop imports from countries badly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Frozen foods are not implicated for spreading the virus outside of China. The World Health Organisation said there is no evidence that COVID-19 coronavirus can be transmitted through the food chain.