The Chinese General Administration of Customs yesterday said it found residues of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on the packaging of frozen horse mackerel imported from Taiwan.
It is the second such claim Beijing made this month.
China on June 10 said that imports of beltfish from a Taiwanese company would be banned for one week, as the virus had been detected on the packaging of the company’s frozen white ribbon fish.
The Council of Agriculture (COA) at the time called on Chinese authorities to present scientific evidence to support its claim.
China yesterday said that imports from the company that packaged the frozen horse mackerel would also be banned for a week.
The COA yesterday reiterated its call on Chinese authorities to provide evidence.
Council spokeswoman Chen Shu-jung (陳淑蓉) said there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted via the packaging of seafood or other goods.
China has targeted several countries with similar claims since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, severely affecting international trade, she said.
Food and Drug Administration Director-General Wu Shou-mei (吳秀梅) said that China has not responded to any Taiwanese requests to clarify its claims of SARS-CoV-2 contamination.
China is the only country that bans imports of agricultural products and fish claiming that the packaging is contaminated with active SARS-CoV-2, Wu said.
It has targeted Japanese scallops, Russian cod fish and Argentine squid, among others, Wu said, calling it an “odd measure” and “quite puzzling.”
There are no reports of people contracting the virus by touching contaminated food packaging, she said, adding that health authorities would have detected such transmissions much earlier if they were possible.
So far, only China has reported such incidents, she said.
Since China began making such claims, Taiwan has tested 1,200 imported products and none of them was contaminated with active SARS-CoV-2, Wu said.
Additional reporting by CNA
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