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Beijing orders importers to avoid frozen foods from countries with major coronavirus outbreaks

According to a statement by the Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau, “customs and local governments have repeatedly detected the coronavirus in imported cold chain foods to prove that it is at risk of contamination.”

The office urged importers to closely monitor the pandemic situation around the world and “take the initiative to avoid importing cold chain food from areas severely affected by the pandemic”. Companies are also instructed to improve their warning and reporting mechanisms and to inform the authorities quickly when products test positive.

Health officials, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have stated that the chance of infecting the coronavirus through food is slim, but China, which can transmit the Virus has largely stopped domestically is on high alert for possible renewed contamination.
Last month, a batch of frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil tested positive for coronavirus in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. This was one of several incidents where the virus was found on food.

These incidents sparked increased screening of imported food across the country and increased controls on products sourced from places hit hard by the pandemic, such as Brazil.

By September 7, China had suspended imports from dozens of food companies in at least 1
9 countries and regions where workers were infected with coronavirus, according to state media.
Last week, the Chinese Customs Administration announced “immediate action” against a Norwegian company after a package of frozen seafood tested positive for the virus.

On Saturday, customs officials said that samples from the outer packaging of imported Russian aquatic products tested positive for coronavirus in Shandong province, while Chinese customs said Friday that the inner packaging of a batch of frozen fish from Brazil also tested positive for the virus.

China’s National Health Commission said Monday that there have been no new locally transmitted virus cases or new deaths related to the pandemic in the past 24 hours.
There were 90,483 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 4,739 deaths in China, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The vast majority of cases were discovered in the early stages of the pandemic, with the number of new infections below 500 since early March.

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