China’s Shenzhen says chicken imported from Brazil tests positive for coronavirus

BEIJING / SHANGHAI (Reuters) – A sample of frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil to the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen tested positive for coronavirus, the city government said in a statement on Thursday.

A man examines frozen products in a supermarket following a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing, China on August 13, 2020. REUTERS / Thomas Peter

Local disease control centers have been testing a surface sample from chicken wings as part of routine inspections of meat and seafood imports since June, when a new outbreak in Beijing was linked to the city's Xinfadi fish market.

Shenzhen health authorities tracked and tested anyone who may have come into contact with potentially contaminated food, and also tested food products that were stored near the infected batch. All results were negative, the message said.

The Brazilian embassy in Beijing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Shenzhen Epidemic Prevention and Control Headquarters said the public must remain cautious about imported meat and seafood and take precautions to reduce the risk of infection.

China reported Wednesday that coronavirus was found on the packaging of shrimp imported from Ecuador, and several other cities have reported cases of contaminated seafood.

In addition to inspecting all the meat and seafood containers that have been shipped to key ports in recent months, China has suspended some meat imports of various origins, including Brazil, since mid-June.

The first group of COVID-19 cases were also linked to the Huanan Fish Market in Wuhan City. Initial studies indicated that the virus originated from animal products sold in the market.

Experts say that while the SARS-CoV-2 virus can infiltrate food or food packaging materials, it does not multiply and cannot survive long at room temperature.

Li Fengqin, director of a microbiology laboratory at the National Food Safety Risk Assessment Center in China, told reporters in June that contaminated food stored in the cold store could be a potential source of transmission.

Reporting by Roxanne Liu and David Stanway; Additional coverage from Shivani Singh; Arrangement by Himani Sarkar and Ana Nicolaci da Costa

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