Consumers in the Chinese city of Shenzhen have been urged to exercise caution when buying imported frozen food after a surface sample of chicken wings from Brazil tested positive for coronavirus, according to a statement from the local government.
The positive sample appears to have been taken from the surface of the meat, while previously reported positive cases from other Chinese cities have been from the surface of packaging on imported frozen seafood.
The chicken came from an Aurora Alimentos plant in the southern state of Santa Catarina, according to a registration number given in the statement.
Virus tests of people who have possibly come into contact with the product, and tests of related products, all came back negative, the statement said. Consumers should be cautious when buying imported frozen foods and aquatic products, the government added.
The World Health Organization said that there had been no examples proving that the virus could be transmitted as food borne, if it was actually in food.
“The viruses can be killed like other viruses as well, and can be killed if the meat is cooked,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, the organization’s Covid-19 technical lead, at a press conference.
Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry has asked Chinese authorities for information that could help clarify the alleged contamination of the product with Covid-19, it said in a statement. The ministry reiterated that there’s no scientific proof of Covid-19 transmission through food or frozen food packaging, citing the UN’S Food and Agriculture Organization and the WHO. It also reinforced the country’s strict safety protocols.
Closely-held Aurora Alimentos said in a statement Thursday that it follows strict sanitary production protocols and it will provide information as soon it gets notification from national Chinese authorities.
Three packaging samples of imported frozen seafood tested positive for Covid-19 in Yantai, a northern city of Shandong province, the city government said on its official Weibo account Tuesday. State television Wednesday reported that the outside of an Ecuador frozen shrimp package tested positive for the virus in a restaurant in Wuhu, a city in China’s Anhui province. Packaging on Ecuador shrimps has also tested positive in Xi’an, state television said Thursday.