September 28, 2022

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COVID-19 Viruses are Detected on Imported Food Packages

COVID-19 Viruses are Detected on Imported Food Packages in China

COVID-19 Viruses are Detected on Imported Food Packages in China.  In the past few months, China has largely contained the spread of the new coronavirus, but there are still some sporadic small-scale cluster infections that occur from time to time. Most cluster infections discovered recently are related to imported frozen food. To this end, China is strengthening border quarantine measures for frozen food.

However, experts believe that the risk of consumers contracting the virus from frozen or refrigerated food packaging is still very low. This is because the virus needs to meet multiple low-probability events at the same time to survive on the food packaging bag, and the packaging bag is moved or When touched, the activity of the virus is diluted.

Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said: “More and more evidence shows that frozen seafood or meat products can bring the virus from an outbreak country into China.”

He also said that the study found that after entering the winter, many cargo transportation has a cold chain-like transport transmission link. We should strengthen the inspection of international cargo and increase the proportion of random inspections; carry out environmental sampling of the carriers that transport international cargo, and regularly conduct regular inspections on employees. Nucleic acid detection, etc.

In the past five months or so, China said it has detected traces of the COVID-19 virus in many imported frozen foods or their packaging, including shrimp from Ecuador, squid from Russia, fish from Norway and Indonesia, beef and chicken wings from Brazil.

According to customs data cited by CCTV, in 2019, China imported more than 4.8 million tons of meat and 6.2 million tons of aquatic products. This year’s imports have soared, with 4.7 million tons of meat products imported in the first six months alone.

Although experts believe that the genetic fragments of a dead virus that are not infectious are likely to be attached to food packaging, last month, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it had imported frozen cod for the first time when tracking the source of the outbreak in Qingdao. The live virus was detected and isolated on the packaging, and it was confirmed that contact with the outer packaging contaminated by the live new coronavirus may cause infection.

In response, Academician Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told a reporter from China Business News: “The gene sequence we detected from the virus in this infected patient is the same as the gene sequence of the virus detected on the food packaging. , So this time the chain of transmission is very clear, indicating that the handlers handling cold chain food were infected by the virus on the outer packaging of cold chain food.”

Gao Fu also said that after the discovery of the new transmission chain of the COVID-19 virus, it is necessary to resolutely prevent the COVID-19 infection from participating in the packaging of cold chain food. However, he said that no live virus has been isolated from seafood. “The risk of the frozen food itself carrying the virus is very small, but it cannot be ruled out.” Gao Fu told the CBN reporter.

Experts say that a series of low-probability events must occur at the same time for an infected person to contaminate food packaging. For example, an infected person needs to carry a high enough viral load and cough, sneeze and yell without wearing a mask. The virus must also survive the long journey of international transportation and keep the virus active on the surface of the packaging bag during unloading and packaging. The handlers at the food receiving end must first come into contact with the virus, and then touch their nose or mouth to get the virus.

Previous studies have shown that the survival time of the new coronavirus varies from hours to weeks, depending on many factors, including temperature, humidity, and the type of attachment surface. The General Administration of Customs of China has stated that it is strengthening border quarantine and preventive disinfection of imported cold chain foods, and strengthening inter-agency cooperation to prevent the introduction of the new coronavirus through cold chain food imports.

Gao Fu emphasized the four key tasks of blocking the spread of the virus through the cold chain to a reporter from China Business News:

The first is to resolutely prevent people infected with the COVID-19 from participating in the packaging of cold chain food.
The second is the quarantine of cold chain food outer packaging export units.
The third is that when cold chain food enters China, we must re-quarantine the external packaging
The fourth is that the external packaging should be disinfected.

Cuttlefish Imported from Inida

The latest news on November 13th, the General Administration of Customs of China just announced that a batch of frozen cuttlefish imported from India and 3 outer packaging samples tested positive for COVID-19 viruses.

According to relevant regulations, China will suspend accepting the import declaration of Indian aquatic products company M/s.Basuinternational (UnitI) with registration number 462 for one week, and will automatically resume after the expiration date.

COVID-19 Viruses are Detected on Imported Food Packages in China

Beef imported from Brazil

According to the official website of the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, on November 18, the Wuhan Municipal Disease Control Department, in accordance with the requirements of Wuhan Municipality on “full coverage of imported cold chain food testing”, carried out routine new coronavirus nucleic acid testing in Dongxihu District, and found that it was from Tianjin Port. One sample of the outer packaging of frozen deboned beef imported from Brazil that was imported by the customs was positive.

The urban headquarters quickly adopted emergency measures such as cargo storage, personnel inspection and isolation, and site elimination, sampling and nucleic acid testing of the environment and staff outside the cold storage, and simultaneously conducting epidemiological investigations.

After investigation, the batch of imported cold chain meat was frozen boneless beef scapula, the overseas exporter was FRIGOL SA, the manufacturer’s registration code was SIF2583, and the production batch number was 10/06/2020-27/06/2020, domestic supply The cargo provider is Guangshui Fujude Trading Co., Ltd. This batch of goods totaling 1,313 pieces (approximately 20kg/piece), 27 tons, was shipped from Brazil, entered from Tianjin on September 17 and temporarily stored in the cold storage of Tianjin No. 3 Food Factory, and was shipped from Tianjin to Wuhan on September 23. Entered the Kerry Supply Chain Warehouse No. 1 of Kerry Cold Storage in Dongxihu District on September 25. The destination of the goods has been clarified and relevant investigations are underway.

As of 20 o’clock on November 18, all the remaining batch of frozen products in the cold storage were sealed and the environment was completely destroyed. 400 environmental samples outside the cold storage, 115 outer packaging samples, and 145 employees had negative nucleic acid test results .

Wuhan City issued a notice for emergency investigation of this batch of cold chain foods, and adopted measures to suspend sales and store on-site storage of all involved stores in the city, and carry out full-coverage nucleic acid testing for this batch of products, the external environment and employees.

They also called on the public to consciously abide by the epidemic prevention and control measures, not to buy imported cold chain food privately, wash hands frequently, ventilate, disinfect frequently, wear masks scientifically, and maintain social distance.

Beef Imported From Argentina

On November 18, an enterprise in Xiamen City imported a batch of boneless beef from Argentina, totaling 27 tons, through the Xiamen Customs area, and planned to be shipped to other provinces for sale.

The municipal government health agency randomly inspected the samples of imported beef packaging from Argentina. After testing by the Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 samples of the packaging were positive for the new coronavirus nucleic acid.

The prevention and control department of the municipal government immediately launched an emergency plan, notified relevant regions and departments in a timely manner, controlled frozen product transfer vehicles, and sealed relevant frozen products. The beef did not enter the market.

Centralized isolation medical observation and nucleic acid tests have been carried out on the porters, transfer drivers and relevant contacts of the relevant frozen products. At present, the results of the new coronavirus nucleic acid test of the relevant personnel are all negative.