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Checks of imported frozen food redoubled

By Zhu Lixin in Hefei, Zhang Xiaomin in Dalian, Liaoning and Hu Dongmei in Yinchuan | | Updated: 2020-08-18 19:01
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Frozen seafood products made of imported shrimps are seen inside a sealed freezer at a supermarket in Beijing, on June 19, 2020. [File photo/Agencies]

Wuhu, Anhui province has banned sales of all imported cold-chain food after reporting a positive coronavirus test on frozen shrimp imported from Ecuador, Wuhu Daily reported on Tuesday.

The packaging of the shrimp tested positive for coronavirus on Aug 11 after being collected from a local restaurant.

The ban took effect on Monday even though 5,173 samples tested since Aug 11 were all negative, according to the report. Those samples came from food, the environment and people.

Testing of everyone working in the frozen food import sector in the city was completed by Monday, with no positive result.

Sales of the imported frozen food products were banned, and such products found in the city would be destroyed, the report quoted the city's pandemic control office as saying.

Meanwhile, Dalian, Liaoning province, which has also found coronavirus in recent weeks, urged all cold-chain food production enterprises, markets, businesses trading in aquatic products and meat and catering services to carry out tests of all related personnel, materials and environment, an official said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Every shipment of imported aquatic products and meat should be tested before storage, and every shipment should be tested before leaving the factory, the official said, adding that related employees and environments should be tested every two weeks in Dalian.

As a port city, Dalian processes a large volume of cold food for import and export, and there are many places for production, processing, storage and trade in the city, said Wang Wentao, deputy director of the city's market supervisory bureau.

To further strengthen the prevention and control of coronavirus infections in the cold-chain food sector, Dalian vowed to ensure that such food is traceable and that it would prevent products of unknown origin or risk of contamination from entering the market.

Previously, the Ningxia Hui autonomous region banned imports of seafood and other meats starting on July 23.

Tian Fengnian, a health expert and director of the region's command office for COVID-19 pandemic control, said people do not need to panic over the recent reports of positive test results on imported cold-chain food across the country.

Authorities in Wuhu said the city remains a low-risk area for COVID-19 and reminded residents to continue personal protective measures including wearing a mask.

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