A Batch of Ice Cream Tests Positive for COVID-19

Here's what that means for your nightly scoop.

Back in March of 2020, there was quite a bit of (not unreasonable) concern that Covid-19 could be transmitted through everyday foods. While there's still reason to believe that food itself does not pose the risk of viral transmission, you can hardly blame the world's public health officials from acting out of an abundance of caution.

Case in point: The Associated Press reports that Chinese officials have sealed off Daqiaodao Food Co., Ltd in response to the presence of coronavirus on some of the ice cream it's produced. The incident took place in Tianjin, a little more than 100 kilometers southeast of Beijing, where 390 cartons of the contaminated batch had been sold locally.

While it sounds alarming any time a potentially deadly pathogen comes in contact with one of our favorite foods, evidence so far suggests that there's no significant cause for alarm. AP says that the overwhelming majority of the 29,000 supposedly contaminated cartons had yet to be sold, and those who did make it out into the world are being tracked down. Meanwhile, the Independent notes that 700 out of 1,662 employees at the factory where the ice cream was found had tested negative as of January 14, with no evidence that any workers had tested positive for Covid-19 through the ice cream.

Ice cream cones
Sally Anscombe via Getty Images

While there's not yet any clear determination as to how a significant batch of ice cream came into contact with the virus, some of its component ingredients did travel internationally to arrive at the Daqiaodao factory. According to Tanjian's city government, such ingredients include whey powder from Ukraine, as well as milk powder from New Zealand (a country widely lauded for its pandemic response).

If you happen to be concerned, it's worth pointing out that even outbreaks at places like meat processing plants haven't translated to specific outbreaks among consumers. So as long as those who work in a facility are alright, that's ultimately what matters most. Rest assured that your ice cream (well, most of it) is safe.

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