China Points to Shrimp as Virus Carrier After Salmon Debacle




 

(Bloomberg) --

China said samples of imported shrimp tested positive for the coronavirus, raising questions again over whether the pathogen can spread through food or frozen products.

The virus tested positive on both the inside and outside of the shrimp packaging, said China's General Administration of Customs. The samples were from three Ecuadorian plants, and imports from those processors will be halted, it said.

"The test result doesn't mean the virus is contagious, but reflects the loopholes in companies' food safety regulations," said Bi Kexin, director of the food import and export safety bureau in the customs department. "Customs will further strengthen control of the origins of imported cold-chain food."

China last month pointed to imported salmon as a possible culprit for Beijing's fresh Covid-19 outbreak, sparking a boycott of the fish as supermarkets took the produce off their shelves. China also began mass testing of cold food imports at ports, and blocked shipments from meat plants abroad that reported infections among workers.

Evidence suggests that it's extremely unlikely for the virus to be transmitted through food, said Gorjan Nikolik, associate director of seafood at Rabobank.

"It's a typical food scare" he said. "I expect them to be very short-lived."

Low Risk

Chinese officials have also agreed with global experts that imported food poses a low risk of transmitting the virus. That's led to confusion overseas over why China is continuing to test and halt shipments.

The tests are "an important measure to prevent the risk of the virus being transmitted from imported cold chain food channels," Bi said. "This is a necessary measure taken to protect the health of the people and does not interrupt normal international trade."

Employees in some countries are still working even after becoming infected with the virus, raising the risk of food contamination, Bi said. Because there are epidemic clusters at some overseas facilities, China halted meat imports from a total of 23 plants, including Brazil, the U.K., the U.S. and Germany, he said.

For shrimp, China is a much bigger buyer than it is for salmon, Rabobank's Nikolik said. Chinese purchases are on the same scale as the U.S. and Europe, and Ecuador is a leading supplier, he said.

China's customs authorities also tested a total of 227,934 samples and the rest of the samples were negative, it said. The shrimps that tested positive were delivered to ports in Dalian and Xiamen and have been destroyed, it said.

(Updates with Rabobank comment)

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Dongguan becomes latest city in China
Dongguan becomes latest city in China's Guangdong to be hit by COVID-19
  • US
  • 2021-06-21 05:06:53Z

The major manufacturing hub of Dongguan in China's most populous province of Guangdong launched mass testing on Monday for the coronavirus and cordoned off...

China Faces Flareups in Its Bid to Tame the Commodities Boom
China Faces Flareups in Its Bid to Tame the Commodities Boom

(Bloomberg) -- Commodities are in retreat, but it's too early for Beijing to declare victory in its two-month battle to quash prices and ease rising factory ...

Three Chinese astronauts have stepped foot on China
Three Chinese astronauts have stepped foot on China's new space station for the first time, kicking off a three-month mission

Three taikonauts entered the station less than three hours after the Shenzhou-12 rocket docked, CGTN reported.

Vietnam receives 500,000 Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine doses donation from China
Vietnam receives 500,000 Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine doses donation from China
  • US
  • 2021-06-20 10:44:22Z

Vietnam has received a shipment of 500,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses donated by China, the health ministry said on Sunday, as the country is ramping up...

Hong Kong seeking closer integration with mainland China, Lam says
Hong Kong seeking closer integration with mainland China, Lam says

Hong Kong's strategy to strengthen the city's global financial hub status is through greater integration with mainland China, now that Beijing has helped...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Economy