China has revealed that samples of imported shrimp tested positive for the novel coronavirus, once again sparking concerns whether it can spread through specific carriers such as food and frozen items.

China’s General Administration of Customs confirmed that both the outside and the inside of the shrimp packaging tested positive for coronavirus. The shrimp import came from three Ecuadorian plants and the Chinese authorities have stopped all imports from these processors with immediate effect.

“The test result doesn’t mean the virus is contagious, but reflects the loopholes in companies’ food safety regulations,” said Bi Kexin, of the customs department. “Customs will further strengthen control of the origins of imported cold-chain food.”

The Chinese authorities, however, agree with the opinion of the global experts who believe that imported food and frozen products have a low risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus. However, China’s decision to test and stip shipments is a questionable action in that case.

Bi, who is the director of the food import and export safety bureau in customs justified the action by saying that “tests are an important measure to prevent the risk of the virus being transmitted from imported cold chain food channels.”

He further added that this is done for the welfare of the health of the people and does not impact international trade by any means.

China has, at the moment, banned the import of meat from 23 plants across the world, including the U.S., Germany, the U.K. and Brazil. Bi said that workers in these plants are still working despite testing positive for COVID-19, which increases the risk of food contamination.

The samples that tested positive for COVID-19 were taken from shipments from the Industrial Pesquera Santa Priscila SA, Empacreci SA and Empacadora Del Pacifico Sociedad Anonima Edpacif. The analysis produced six positive results.

Imports from these three shrimp producers in Ecuador have been banned temporarily.

Spicy Pasta with Grilled Shrimp Spicy Pasta with Grilled Shrimp Photo: Courtesy