BEIJING (Reuters) – The Chinese city of Jinan said at the end of last week it had detected the coronavirus in beef and tripe and its packaging from Brazil, Bolivia and New Zealand, while two other provincial capitals detected it on packaging for pork from Argentina.
China is stepping up testing on frozen food after repeatedly detecting the virus in imported products, triggering an import ban, even as the World Health Organization says the risk of catching COVID-19 from frozen food is low.
In Jinan, the capital of China’s eastern province of Shandong, the goods involved were imported by a unit of the Guotai International Group 002091.SZ, and the Shanghai Zhongli Development Trade, the city’s municipal health commission said late Saturday.
They entered through the port in Shanghai, he said, without specifying the company that shipped the products to China. More than 7,500 people who may have been exposed have tested negative for the coronavirus, he said.
Cases of frozen pork were reported in Zhengzhou, the capital of central China’s Henan province, and Xian, the capital of Shaanxi. It was not immediately clear whether the two cases were linked.
The sample that tested positive in Zhengzhou came from frozen pork weighing 24 tonnes shipped from a storage facility in Qingdao, in Shandong, authorities said.
China, the world’s biggest beef buyer, last week found the coronavirus in Argentine beef packaging in Shandong and Jiangsu, and on Brazilian beef packaging in Wuhan.
Separately, the city of Baotou in China’s Inner Mongolia region said it had disinfected several products and vehicles at a company after an asymptomatic coronavirus case in the northern city of Tianjin came into contact with a batch of frozen pork from France.
It is unclear whether the authorities suspect the person has infected the meat or vice versa. Nucleic acid tests on 115 people came back negative, authorities said.
Reporting by Shivani Singh and Roxanne Liu in Beijing; additional reporting by Tom Daly; Edited by William Mallard and Gareth Jones