CHINA FREEZES SHRIMP IMPORTS FROM ECUADOR OVER COVID-19 FEARS
China is suspending shrimps imports from three Ecuadorian firms after detecting COVID-19 in its packaging, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) announced on Friday, teleSUR reported.
Although the frozen shrimp itself tested negative, samples from Industrial Pesquera Santa Priscila SA, Empacreci SA, and Empacadora Del Pacifico Sociedad Anonima Edpacif showed six positive results in Dalian and Xiamen. GAC warned that "there is a risk" it could transmit the virus. China did not say if the handlers in Chinese ports could have contaminated the cargoes or not. The COVID-19 pandemic started in Wuhan City in the Hubei province of China.
"All products will be returned or disposed of. The GAC has reported the relevant situation to the Ecuadorian government and asked it to make an investigation and reply to China at an early date," Bi Kexin head of the Bureau of Import and Export Food Safety said during a press conference. China is Ecuador's biggest shrimp market. During 2019 alone, the Latin American country amounted to $1.9 billion in revenues. In April, China bought US$95 million of shrimps from Ecuador.
As China began to test importing fresh and frozen food following the evidence of coronavirus particles in a chopping board to cut salmon in June, authorities have taken 227,934 samples to date. China did not say if workers handling the salmon could have infected the chopping boards used to cut up the fish.