China finds coronavirus in shrimp shipment

News Desk

BEIJING: China’s customs authority said on Friday it was suspending imports from three shrimp producers in Ecuador after detecting presence of the coronavirus in recent shipments.

It said samples taken from shipments from Industrial Pesquera Santa Priscila SA, Empacreci SA and Empacadora Del Pacifico Sociedad Anonima Edpacif had produced six positive results. However, tests on the shrimp and inner packaging were negative.

Company officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

“After nucleic acid sequence analysis and expert judgement, the test results suggested that the container environment and the outer packaging of the goods of the three companies were at risk of contamination by the new coronavirus, and the companies’ food safety management system was not in order,” the General Administration of Customs said in a statement on its website.

The findings are the first positive results announced by Beijing since it began testing imported frozen foods for presence of the virus.

The testing campaign came after the virus was found on a chopping board used to cut salmon at a large food market in Beijing during an outbreak of coronavirus among workers there.

Though experts have said there is no evidence that the virus can be spread through food, China has since halted imports of salmon from major European suppliers.

The customs authority said it was suspending imports from the three shrimp producers to protect consumer health and “eliminate hidden dangers”.