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


 

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