China hyperlinks seven COVID-19 outbreaks to meals packaging

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China has linked seven COVID-19 outbreaks and nearly 700 instances to contaminated imported frozen meals packaging supplies.

Scientists stated the work helps hypothesis that cold-chain meals act as a pathway for SARS-CoV-2 and would possibly current a danger for virus transmission between international locations and areas.

They added handlers and processors of imported frozen meals needs to be successfully protected, monitored each day for signs of COVID-19, and examined for SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid at common intervals.

Seven outbreaks and 689 instances had been linked to imported cold-chain meals from June 2020 to mid-July 2021, in response to the research in China CDC Weekly.

Sampling findings

Investigations of an outbreak at Xinfadi Market in Beijing June 2020 discovered 5 samples from salmon within the unique sealed package deal within the firm’s chilly storage had been optimistic for SARS-CoV-2.

An outbreak in Dalian, in July 2020, was related to imported cold-chain meals. The porter was contaminated via contact with the outer packaging of frozen cod contaminated with SARS-CoV-2. Lively and infectious viruses weren’t remoted from the samples of meals in Beijing and Dalian.

Two contaminated dock employees who transported imported frozen cod for 10 hours in two separate storage warehouses on the identical freighter in Qingdao, had been reported to be contaminated with the virus. An lively SARS-CoV-2 pattern was remoted from a contaminated outer packaging pattern of the frozen cod.

The primary contaminated instances of two outbreaks in Tianjin Municipality in November 2020 had been porters who had been in shut contact with contaminated outer packaging of imported frozen meals, or uncovered to the virus-contaminated setting throughout dealing with of frozen meals.

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The virus sequence that led to the Yingkou Metropolis, Liaoning Province, and Liuan Metropolis, Anhui Province, COVID-19 outbreaks in Might 2021 was linked to the Dalian COVID-19 outbreak in July 2020.

SARS-CoV-2 contaminated frozen cod had been stored in chilly storage for 11 months in Dalian since July 2020, however nonetheless contaminated employees throughout dealing with. Researchers stated this reveals SARS-CoV-2 can keep its infectivity for no less than 11 months at a low temperature of minus 18 levels C (minus 0.4 F).

The research helps hypothesis that the contaminated COVID-19 instances amongst cold-chain meals dealing with and working teams are possible associated to occupational danger. 

Surveillance outcomes

One other survey, revealed in the identical journal, analyzed nearly 56 million frozen food-related samples between July 2020 and 2021.

From the 56 million samples, 1,455 had been optimistic for SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid. Out of 1,398 SARS-CoV-2-positive meals and packaging supplies, all however seven had been imported.

Researchers stated findings assist hypothesis that cold-chain meals would possibly act because the SARS-CoV-2 provider, and meals handlers or operators had been at excessive danger of publicity to the virus.

The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted the worldwide meals system with direct and oblique penalties, inflicting widespread concern and financial hardship for customers, companies, and communities, though it’s neither a meals security difficulty nor a foodborne illness.

In Hong Kong, greater than 34,000 samples of meals and their packaging have been examined for the virus and fewer than 10 have been optimistic.

China launched a nationwide program to display for SARS-CoV-2 contamination on packaged frozen meals produced, both domestically or overseas, in July 2020.

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Optimistic swabs got here from seafood, poultry meat, and different meals. Outer packaging contamination by SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid was far more frequent than interior packaging or the meals itself. 

Optimistic samples got here from 11 European international locations, six South American nations, 9 Asian international locations, two North American ones, and two African international locations.

“The survival and restoration of SARS-CoV-2 in sure meals highlighted the significance of protected meals dealing with practices in mitigating any public well being considerations associated to SARS-CoV-2-contaminated meals,” stated researchers. 

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