At a time when the COVID19 tally increased to 12,870,723 across the world, China has signalled shrimp virus risk after a handful of packaging samples of imported shrimps tested positive for the deadly virus.

The news raised questions over whether COVID19 can spread through food or frozen products.

The deadly virus has so far claimed the lives of 568,303 people globally, with the United States leading the table.

The virus spread rapidly across the world from its epicentre in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province.

A media report quoted China’s General Administration of Customs as saying that the virus tested positive on the outside of about five shrimp packages and the inside of one shipping container.

It said the packaging samples were imported from three Ecuadorian plants, and the imports from those processors will be halted. However, a leading Ecuadorian shrimp exporter disputed the findings.

The report quoted Bi Kexin, director of the food import and export safety bureau in the customs department, as saying, “The test result doesn’t mean the virus is contagious, but reflects the loopholes in companies’ food safety regulations.”

“Customs will further strengthen control of the origins of imported cold-chain food,” Kexin added.

Last month, China pointed out that imported salmon might be a possible carrier for Beijing’s fresh COVID19 outbreak.

Following the claims by the Chinese authorities, the supermarkets took the produce off their shelves.

China also reportedly began mass testing of cold food imports at ports, and blocked shipments from meat plants abroad reported infections among workers.

The report quoted Gorjan Nikolik, associate director of seafood at Rabobank, as saying evidence suggests that it’s extremely unlikely for the virus to be transmitted through food.

“It’s a typical food scare,” Nikolik said, adding, “I expect them to be very short-lived.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also issued a fresh statement on the matter and said there is no evidence that Covid19 is transmitted through food or food packaging.

Meanwhile, Ecuadorian shrimp exporter Santa Priscila has raised questions over China’s findings.

Santa Priscila president and founder Santiago Salem said: “They found one positive non-contagious test ‘inside the wall of the container’ as a result of 227,934 samples taken from the containers, that is 0.0000043%.”

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