China coronavirus cover-up fears as Brazil demands answers over contaminated chicken wings
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Brazil has asked Chinese authorities to provide evidence of its alleged findings in the chicken wings exported by the South American country, according to a statement sent to Reuters by Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry on Wednesday. Brazilian agriculture delegates demanded the evidence during a meeting in the city of Shenzhen, in Guangdong province, with local health and trade officials on Tuesday, the statement added.
According to the statement, the Chinese officials said health authorities of Guangdong, who were not present in the talks, had the results of the tests.
The Brazilian envoys said they will stay in touch with China’s municipal, provincial and central government’s in order to obtain the results as well as further information about the issue.
Aurora, the company which operates the poultry plant that produced the chicken wings in Southern Brazil, voluntarily halted poultry exports to China starting August 20.
The suspension allows the firm to wait until more information regarding the reported contamination is provided.
According to the Brazilian government, Chinese officials at the briefing said three samples were contaminated – one taken from the chicken wings, and two from the packaging of products coming from Aurora’s facilities.
The statement said: “The health authorities in Shenzhen were unable to say whether the findings concerned only the detection of the virus’ genetic material or the active virus, nor were they able to provide further information about the alleged finding.”
The purported positive results resulted in the Philippines introducing a temporary ban on poultry meat imports from Brazil.
Hong Kong also suspended chicken imports from Aurora’s Xaxim plant.
But according to the World Health Organization, there is no evidence showing that humans can contract the disease from food.
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On its website, the World Health Organization sates: “There is currently no evidence that people can catch COVID-19 from food, including fruits and vegetables.
“Fresh fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet and their consumption should be encouraged.
It adds: “Coronaviruses need a live animal or human host to multiply and survive and cannot multiply on the surface of food packages.
“It is not necessary to disinfect food packaging materials, but hands should be properly washed after handling food packages and before eating.”
Equally, the international body claims there is no evidence that shows that humans can contract COVID-19 from cooked foods.
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It added: “There is currently no evidence that people can catch COVID-19 from food.
“The virus that causes COVID-19 can be killed at temperatures similar to that of other known viruses and bacteria found in food.
“Foods such as meat, poultry and eggs should always be thoroughly cooked to at least 70°C.
“Before cooking, raw animal products should be handled with care to avoid cross-contamination with cooked foods.”
David Hui Shu-cheong, a respiratory medicine expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the imported food products that tested positive in China were almost certain to have been come into contact with he virus during packaging.
However, he added that it does not necessarily imply that they can be transmitted to humans.
The nucleic acid tests could have found the RNA of dead virus.
These residues of the pathogen are known to have given false positive results on patients who have recovered from COVID-19, such as in South Korea.
But if the pathogen found in food products can be grown in labs it is infectious, according to Mr Hui
He added that the virus can survive freezing temperatures and still be active when defrosted.
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