Back to Africa Check

Yes, coronavirus found on frozen chicken wings from Brazil – but highly unlikely to spread Covid-19

“Chicken pieces exported from Brazil test positive for coronavirus,” reads the headline of an article on the Zimbabwe-based website ZimEye.

“A sample of frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil has tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, authorities said Thursday, the latest in a series of reports of contaminated imported food products,” the 13 August 2020 article claims.

It was posted on Facebook, where the social network’s fact-checking system flagged it as possibly false.

Did chicken pieces exported from Brazil to China test positive for the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19? If so, should we be worried?

Chicken and shrimp samples tested positive

Several credible news organisations, including the US-based CBS News and global news agency Reuters, reported in mid-August that surface samples taken from frozen wings imported from Brazil to China had tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Reuters also reported that samples taken from the packaging of shrimp sold in China had also tested positive. 

Authorities in the Chinese city of Shenzhen reportedly said the chicken was “from a plant owned by Aurora, Brazil’s third-largest poultry and pork exporter”. 

Reuters reports that people who may have had contact with the products were traced, tested and found to have no coronavirus infection.

“Somebody probably handled those chicken wings who might have had the virus,” Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University in the US, told the New York Times. “But it doesn’t mean, ‘Oh my god, nobody buy any chicken wings because they’re contaminated.’”

Unlikely that food or food packaging could infect anyone

The US Centers for Disease Control says there is no evidence that eating or handling food is associated with coronavirus infection.

The World Health Organization’s interim guidance is that it is highly unlikely food or food packaging could infect a person with the new coronavirus.

Covid-19 is mainly spread from person to person in virus-laden droplets expelled by an infected person when they breathe, talk, cough and sneeze. – Taryn Willows

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.