Frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil have tested positive for COVID-19 in China.
The novel coronavirus was detected on a surface sample taken from a batch of chicken wings while screening imported frozen food in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, according to a statement from the municipal government.
Officials traced and tested anyone who may have come into contact with the product, and all results came back negative. All related products have been sealed off and tested negative. Authorities said the chicken likely originated from a meatpacking plant owned by Aurora, Brazil’s third-largest poultry and pork exporter.
“All the citizens should be cautious in buying imported frozen meat products and aquatic products in recent days,” the Shenzhen officials warned.
Just a day earlier, the outer packaging of frozen Ecuadorian shrimp sold in Xian, China, also tested positive for the virus.
Last month, Chinese health officials also reported traces of the virus on imported frozen food packaging in the cities of Dalian, Xiamen, and Pingxiang according to NBC News.
As the cases of COVID-19 continue to rise globally, these events have reignited questions whether the virus can spread through surfaces or even enter the food supply.
After New Zealand reported its first case of COVID-19 in more than 100 days, officials speculated that the virus could have come via imported food packages.
Despite these events, health experts say there is no evidence of food transmission.
The WHO has said it is “highly unlikely that people can contract COVID-19 from food or food packaging,” emphasizing that the virus is a respiratory illness primarily spread person-to-person. According to the CDC, the spread of the virus from food products or food packaging is “thought to be very low.”
“Even though the new coronavirus can stay on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days (depending on the type of surface), it is very unlikely that the virus will persist on a surface after being moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures,” the WHO said.
David Hui Shu-cheong, a respiratory medicine expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told CNN that the positive tests on imported food products could be picking up the RNA of dead virus, meaning it is likely not infectious. Remnants of the virus have been found to cause false positive results according to a South Korean study.
“There is no evidence to date of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses being transmitted via food or food packaging. Coronaviruses cannot multiply in food; they need an animal or human host to multiply,” the WHO added.
Scientists believe that the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, started at an exotic animal market in Wuhan, China. You can help stop the incidence of viruses like these by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.
Read more about recent food contamination:
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- Hundreds of People Across the Country Infected by Parasite From Bagged Salad Mix
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