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China orders importers to avoid food from countries with 'severe epidemics' after COVID-19 outbreaks

China orders importers to avoid food from countries with 'severe epidemics' after COVID-19 outbreaks
Posted at 3:58 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 16:21:47-04

In an effort to limit COVID-19 exposure and new transmissions, authorities in China are ordering food importers to avoid frozen food “from areas with severe epidemics.”

The country’s Foreign Trade Operations Office released a statement Monday citing cluster infections that continue to occur from frozen food items that test positive for the coronavirus. The statement does not list specific countries, and asks companies to stay up-to-date on “key epidemic areas.”

In August, a city in China warned food importers that a “surface sample of frozen chicken wings” from Brazil tested positive for the coronavirus.

In June, Chinese authorities said they found heavy traces of coronavirus in meat and seafood areas of a large wholesale food market in Beijing, after an outbreak of new cases.

Earlier this month, China said it would suspend imports from companies overseas if their frozen foods test positive for coronavirus. Media outlets report China has already taken steps to ban imports from some meat processing plants.

Their release on Monday puts responsibility on food importers in China to “establish and improve the early warning and reporting mechanism for preventing the import” of the coronavirus.

The CDC and the World Health Organization say the chances of catching the coronavirus from food is low.

“Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that handling food or consuming food is associated with COVID-19,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on their website.

However, they continue by stating it is possible a person could touch a surface that has the virus on it and then touch their mouth or nose, potentially spreading the virus.

The CDC recommends safe food practices like washing hands after touching food packaging and food products, and cooking meat thoroughly.