China’s meat importers and processors have asked exporters in countries with Covid-19 outbreaks to step up disinfection procedures before shipping them to the Asian country.
“China has been importing a lot of meat this year and has often detected viruses in the packaging of cold chain products, even with a lot of disinfection being done in-house,” said Gao Guan, a spokesman for the China Meat Association. It would be better to deal with this (controlling the virus) in the meat-exporting origins by doing the disinfection in the production units, because the cost would be lower and the efficiency greater,” he added.
China accelerated the disinfection and testing of viruses in frozen foods after finding the coronavirus in imported products and packaging. The measures increased costs, interrupted trade, and angered the main exporters.
The Association suggested that exporters in countries affected by Covid-19 disinfect the outer packaging of products and the inside of containers before sealing export products, according to a statement published in the association’s official WeChat account. The initiative was proposed to “guarantee the safety of food imported from the cold chain and to increase consumer confidence in imported products”.
The proposal came after some large exporters, including JBS in Brazil, began to take measures such as extensive product and storage location disinfection, to supply China with safe products, according to Gao.
The Chinese association argues that there are reports that showed that contact with coronavirus-contaminated packaging could lead to human infection. The World Health Organization, however, says the risk of contracting Covid-19 from frozen foods is low. Chinese authorities repeated that this risk was low, but that there was still a risk.
“The virus is new. We are still gaining experience in fighting it” said Gao. “We must meet and discuss how to use the most scientific, efficient, and low-cost measures to ensure public health and trade at the same time,” added Gao.