WELLINGTON, November 16 (Reuters) – New Zealand said on Monday it had not been informed of any issues with frozen meat exports after Chinese authorities said the coronavirus was found in its meat products.
The Chinese city of Jinan said over the weekend that it had found COVID-19 in beef and tripe, and on the packaging, from Brazil, Bolivia and New Zealand, while two other provincial capitals detected the virus on packaging in pork from Argentina. .
“New Zealand has not been officially notified by the Chinese authorities,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement.
“New Zealand officials are now working to ascertain the origin and veracity of this report.”
Authorities in Jinan, the capital of eastern China’s Shandong province, said the goods involved were imported by a unit of the Guotai International Group and Shanghai Zhongli Development Trade. They entered through the port in Shanghai, they said.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in an interview on state television TVNZ on Monday that she had been told that it was not New Zealand beef that had COVID-19 in it.
“We have been told it is Argentine beef, so we are just trying to find out what was reported there,” Ardern said.
China, the world’s biggest beef buyer, found the coronavirus last week on Argentine beef packaging in Shandong and Jiangsu, and on Brazilian beef packaging in Wuhan.
China has increased testing on frozen food after detecting the virus in imported products, triggering an import ban, although the World Health Organization says the risk of catching COVID-19 from frozen food is low. (Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Peter Cooney)