China suspends imports from 56 food firms on virus concerns

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BEIJING: As of Monday, China had suspended imports from 56 cold-chain food companies of 19 countries and regions where workers have been infected with COVID-19.
China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) said on Tuesday that 41 of the companies had voluntarily stopped exports to China.
Packaging and containers of imported frozen food in China have repeatedly tested positive for COVID-19. As of Monday, the GAC had spot-checked more than 500,000 samples from imported cold-chain food, and one sample from a container and five from outer packaging tested positive.
Several other cases of positive tests were also reported across the nation in imported frozen food, including seafood and chicken. The packaging of frozen shrimp products from Ecuador tested positive for COVID-19 in several cases, including coastal cities like Dalian, Northeast China’s Liaoning Province and inland cities like Southwest China’s Chongqing city.
Although there has been no case of anyone contracting COVID-19 from touching or eating imported seafood products, and there is no clear evidence that imported seafood poses a higher risk of COVID-19, the seafood industry has been heavily affected, retailers said.
A retailer surnamed Wu based in Beijing’s Jingshen wholesale market told the Global Times that most of his products are imported, and his business at the market has been suspended since the COVID-19 flare-up in June. He reopened his business online at the end of July.
“It was partly due to import restrictions and partly due to customer panic,” Wu said. “Although only three shrimp companies from Ecuador were banned, we’re not selling Ecuadorian shrimps because customers won’t buy them.”
– The Daily Mail-Global Times News exchange item