Global COVID-19 cases have breached the 33 million mark as infections continue to soar worldwide. The official death count is around one million, as China is at it again, urging domestic companies to halt frozen imports of food from countries that have been severely impacted by the pandemic due to the risk of transmission through packaging, reported Bloomberg.
This isn't the first time China has tried to portray imported foods as a threat. Readers may recall, when the first post-lockdown cluster was found in Beijing and traced to a wholesale market in the southwestern parts of the city, officials there said traces of salmon tested positive. This resulted in a nationwide boycott that led to thousands of tons of imported salmon being thrown in the trash.
In July, we also noted imports of shrimp from Ecuador were found to be carrying the virus, well, not the shrimp itself, but, according to China, the packaging had traces of the virus.
Now the Beijing city government on Monday warned companies to avoid importing frozen food from countries where the virus is rampant. This comes after China found its first local asymptomatic infection in more than a month as two workers at a port in Qingdao city tested positive after unloading frozen seafood.
In recent weeks, China halted seafood imports from two Russian vessels and a Brazilian company after the virus was found on packaging. Individual food plants in Ecuador, Brazil, and Indonesia have seen their exports to China ground to a halt as well.
Bloomberg notes that "cold-storage facilities and meat-processing plants are ideal environments for the virus to thrive, there has been no concrete evidence the virus can be transmitted through food and packaging, and experts remain doubtful that it's a major threat."
In August, China's top virus expert advised the government to limit imports of frozen food to mitigate the spreading of the virus. The FDA has said it's "not aware of any evidence" that links the transmission of the respiratory virus to food.
Virus scares tied to imports is just another tool for Beijing to keep the narrative alive that the virus originated outside China - Beijing has been caught implicitly supporting these conspiracy theories. Maybe they've learned this time to be more subtle.