Macau on Saturday placed a ban on mango imports from a Taiwanese company after traces of the COVID-19 virus were allegedly detected in a shipment, the second such ban in two days.
The Macau Municipal Affairs Bureau placed a one-week suspension on the unnamed company’s imports after samples collected from external packaging of its products allegedly tested positive for the nucleic acid of SARS-CoV-2.
The batches of mangoes from which the samples were collected have been destroyed, the bureau said, adding that the ban is “aimed at protecting Macau residents instead of targeting specific countries or regions.”
However, there is “currently no evidence that people can catch COVID-19 from food, including fruits and vegetables,” the WHO said. “Fresh fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet and their consumption should be encouraged.”
The same protocol was also applied to food imports from other countries and regions, such as Argentina, Poland, Vietnam, Indonesia and Hong Kong, whose products were found to contain traces of the COVID-19 virus as well, the bureau said.
Traces of the COVID-19 virus on Wednesday were allegedly found on samples of mangoes imported from another Taiwanese company, with a one-week ban on that firm’s products taking effect on Friday.
However, the Council of Agriculture said on Friday that they had not been notified of the suspension from Macau authorities.
The council urged Macau to handle such matters professionally, particularly given the lack of evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted via packaged produce.
Macau should follow proper risk control protocols that comply with international standards to ensure unfettered trade, it added.
The council said that China had imposed COVID-19-related restrictions on international trade with many countries during the pandemic and should provide scientific data to support its measures.
A number of countries have raised concerns about China’s import restrictions during meetings of the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Committee, it said.
For instance, the US, the EU, Canada and India have been voicing their concerns over the issue since November 2020, it said.
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