China to heighten inspection of imported frozen food to prevent COVID-19

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/13 3:35:22

A worker unloads boxes of imported frozen meat at a cold storage at Dalian port in Dalian, northeast China's Liaoning Province, April 8, 2020. Since it resumed operation, the port has streamlined its cold chain operation attempting to achieve greater efficiency. (Xinhua/Yao Jianfeng)

Chinese customs will further enhance inspection of cold-chain imported foods in a bid to prevent the risk of imported coronavirus infections as winter comes and the world sees a surge in confirmed cases, Chinese officials said.

Control and management of resources will be strengthened, Bi Kexin, head of the import and export food safety bureau of the General Administration of Customs, told a press conference on Thursday.

So far, China has communicated and consulted with the authorities of all 109 countries that export cold-chain food to China, with suggestions and requirements receiving active responses from the departments, Bi said.

A total of 140 cold-chain food producers from 50 countries have been inspected, and 22 companies have been dealt with regarding unqualified products, such as shipment suspension or revocation of registration, he said.

Also, imports from overseas companies where there have been clusters of infections will be suspended, and risk monitoring for imported cold chain foods will be shored up as well, Bi noted, adding that “China customs have tested 873,475 samples from cold chain imported items by Wednesday, among which 13 tested positive.”

With strict and consistent prevention measures, China has got COVID-19 under control domestically. Nearly all recent small-scale outbreaks were related to cold-chain imports, from Beijing’s Xinfadi wholesale market to the latest infection in North China's Tianjin Municipality.

As China has seen social activities and production get back to normal, any risks that may lead to infections have alerted Chinese residents and businesses. Many countries and regions overseas have seen a surge in cases recently. According to data from Johns Hopkins, the US has topped the list with over 10 million confirmed cases. Recently the nation has seen new infections exceeding 100,000 per day.

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