Frozen food imports to fall in China due to Covid-19

Beijing - Analysts in China are predicting the fall in imports of frozen products, especially seafood, after a European strain of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was identified as the origin of the Covid-19 outbreak in a Beijing market.

According to estimates, the decline will persist during the time it will take to control the health situation in the capital and sometime after, as consumers fear being infected through food and the authorities have tightened customs inspections, which delays and makes purchases in the international market more expensive.

The finding of more than 200 positive samples of the pathogen in the vicinity, in the fish tanks, and even in the throat of a salmon marketed in the wholesale square of Xinfadi, where the outbreak broke out, is also cited as arguments behind both factors.

Based on these facts, the Sealand Securities company projected that the national market for seafood and frozen products could benefit from this and replace a large part of imports.

Although the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has emphasized the importance of increasing imports, it pointed out the need to strengthen communication and coordination with foreign markets in order to guarantee the purchase of safe items.

China halted this week the operations of European salmon suppliers, removed the meat from public sale and recommended not to eat it raw, following the discovery of the virus on an imported salmon cutting board.

Preliminary results of an official investigation cited among the possible transmission routes that the microorganism remained in frozen food and did not mutate as a result of the cold conditions since the departure of the products abroad until their arrival in China.

Another thesis is that it subsisted for a long time in dark, humid environments, without adequate disinfection and sterilization before being exposed to the population.

Research on the genetic sequence revealed an older strain of the virus currently circulating in Europe, but epidemiologists admitted the need to collect more data and complete calculations with mathematical models before drawing a definitive conclusion.

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