Brazilian Chicken Wings Test Positive for Covid-19 in China
This week, CNN reports that frozen chicken wings shipped from Brazil, a country with an estimated 3.1 million Covid-19 cases, to Shenzhen, China tested positive for Covid-19 during a regular screening of imported food.
Test and trace measures were immediately put into effect, and results came back negative across the board. The brand responsible for the wings was not identified by local authorities. The incident comes shortly after a shipment of Ecuadorian shrimp also tested positive during an inspection.
While these incidents in China would seem to raise some red flags (no pun intended), it bears repeating that the likelihood of contracting Covid-19 through food remains incredibly low.
It's clear by now that humans working in meat packing and processing facilities aren't immune to the virus, which has caused a host of public health concerns and supply chain issues. But the World Health Organization (WHO) regards it as "highly unlikely that people can contract Covid-19 from food or food packaging."
The nature of the disease is such that while respiratory droplets carrying Covid-19 particles can linger on foods or their packaging, they cannot spread further without a living host. As WHO says, "Coronaviruses cannot multiply in food; they need an animal or human host to multiply."
CNN reports that some within China have expressed concern about the spread of Covid-19 through food, inspiring some calls to ban frozen food imports. That led the country to ramp up its screening protocols for meat and seafood imports back in June, out of an abundance of caution.
Is it less than ideal that food can make it halfway around the world and show traces of Covid-19? Probably, yes. Is the food on store shelves — either in the U.S., China, or anywhere else — any less safe than it has remained for the duration of the pandemic? Probably not.
No matter where you are in the world, rest assured that you can continue safely eating food until such a point in time as the CDC and WHO say otherwise.