Beijing asks frozen food importers to avoid countries with severe Covid-19 outbreak

New Delhi (NVI): The authorities in the China’s capital Beijing have urgent importers to avoid frozen food from countries severely hit by the pandemic after several cases of imported seafood products testing positive for the virus.

The Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau in a statement issued to import companies said, “Customs and local governments have repeatedly detected the coronavirus in imported cold chain food, proving it risks contamination.”

The bureau urged importers to closely monitor the coronavirus situation around the world and take the initiative to avoid importing cold chain foods from areas severely hit by the pandemic.

It has also instructed the companies to improve their warnings and reporting mechanisms, and to inform authorities quickly if products test positive.

The order comes after China found its first local asymptomatic infections in more than a month as two port workers in Qingdao city responsible for unloading frozen seafood tested positive, according to the reports.

Although the health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have said the possibility of catching the coronavirus from food is low, but the China, which has largely eradicated national transmission of the virus is on high alert in the event of possible recontamination.

Earlier in June, China suspended poultry imports from a Tyson Foods plant in the United States because of concerns about an outbreak of coronavirus at the facility.

Last month, a batch of frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil tested positive for coronavirus in the city of Shenzhen, one of multiple incidents in which the virus had been detected on food products.

Those incidents sparked increased screening of imported foods nationwide, and heightened inspection of products coming from places badly affected by the pandemic.

China this month suspended imports from seafood producers in Brazil, Indonesia and Russia for a week or more. However, the country had suspended imports from almost dozens of food companies across at least 19 countries and regions where workers have been infected with coronavirus, as per the reports.

So far, 90,483 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been registered in China and 4,739 died from the pandemic, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

-RJV