New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday she was confident that no meat products would be exported from the country with COVID-19 after Chinese authorities said they had discovered coronavirus on their frozen beef products.
The Chinese city of Jinan said over the weekend it found COVID-19 in beef and tripe, as well as on their packaging from Brazil, Bolivia and New Zealand, while two other provincial capitals found it on packaging on pork from Argentina.
Ardern said at a press conference that New Zealand learned there had been positive tests for packaging beef products from Argentina and that some New Zealand products were in the same cold store where the positive tests were returned.
“We were not advised that New Zealand products themselves tested positive for COVID-19,” said Ardern.
“This is incredibly important to New Zealand. We are confident that our products will not be and will not be exported with signs of COVID as we are essentially COVID free,” she added.
New Zealand has successfully removed COVID-19 from the community twice and currently has only 58 active cases of the virus, all in managed isolation facilities. No new community cases were reported on Monday.
Authorities have requested more information from China, the world‘s leading buyer of beef, according to Ardern, but there has been no official clarification.
The authorities in Jinan, capital of east China’s Shandong Province, announced on Sunday that the affected goods were imported by a unit of the Guotai International Group and Shanghai Zhongli Development Trade. They entered Shanghai through ports, they said.
China stepped up testing on frozen foods after discovering the virus in imported products and triggering import bans, despite the World Health Organization saying the risk of catching COVID-19 from frozen foods is low.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)