China continues to sow confusion by halting meat imports over coronavirus fears
The move comes shortly after an outbreak in Beijing was first traced to a chopping board used by a seller of imported salmon.
Niu Shuping, Isis Almeida, Tatiana Freitas and Megan Durisin, The Print (India)
30 June, 2020
Beijing/Chicago/São Paulo/London: China suspended meat imports from more plants as the Asian nation continues to sow confusion in global agriculture markets by suggesting a potential link between the spread of coronavirus and food.
Customs authorities suspended imports from plants in countries including Brazil, Canada and Germany, according to a notice on a departmental website. While China didn’t provide a reason for the suspension, most, if not all, of the facilities had one thing in common: Covid-19 outbreaks.
The country has taken some unexpected steps in recent weeks, stirring controversy when its companies asked food suppliers around the world to sign a document attesting their cargoes meet safety standards to ensure they aren’t contaminated with the virus. Exporting nations and regulatory agencies have pushed back, declaring there’s no evidence linking infections to food.
“It is a great pity that we have ended up in this situation,” said Lars Albertsen, head of global sales at Danish Crown Pork, which had a facility in Germany suspended. “Unfortunately, the mentioning of the apparently positive tests last week has already meant that the Chinese authorities shut down the export of pork from the abattoir” with cases, he said.
The move comes shortly after an outbreak in Beijing was first traced to a chopping board used by a seller of imported salmon. The country’s National Health Commission said there was no evidence showing the fish was either the origin or intermediate host for the virus, but salmon was still removed from major supermarkets.
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