Brazil asks China for evidence of COVID-19 in chicken wings

“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,” said the Brazilian government.

(National Chicken Council)
(National Chicken Council)

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) of Brazil asked Chinese health authorities to present the results of laboratory tests confirming the presence of the novel coronavirus on chicken wings exported by the South American country. 

According to a statement sent by MAPA to Reuters, Brazilian officials met with their Chinese counterparts in the city of Shenzhen, in the Guangdong province, to request the results and discuss the issue. 

However, the Chinese participants said that “the results are being kept by the health authorities of Guangdong, who did not participate in the meeting.” The Brazilian authorities would continue in contact with their Chinese counterparts to follow up on the information.

The alleged discovery of COVID-19 occurred in chicken wings from a processing plant owned by Aurora Alimentos. The company later determined to voluntarily suspend shipments to China from August 20, while waiting for a clarification.

The Brazilian government said that Chinese officials spoke of three samples that tested positive for the new coronavirus: “One taken from the chicken wings, and two from the packaging of products coming from Aurora’s plant in the town of Xaxim,” Reuters reported.

“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,” said the Reuters report.

In this regard, the president of the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA), Ricardo Santin, told Sputnik News that this situation should be investigated and showed support to Aurora on the possibility that the contamination had occurred in the transportation process.

“Aurora, like the vast majority of companies in Brazil, took all precautions, in compliance with Interministerial Ordinance No. 19, to prevent the coronavirus from entering its plants... There are no contaminated employees who have had contact with the product,” Santin said.

The ABPA leader also recalled that “the World Health Organization (WHO) guarantees that there is no way for meat to transfer the virus. That is why we are absolutely sure that this virus did not leave the Aurora factory.”

Following the alleged discovery of COVID-19 in Brazilian chicken wings, the Philippines temporarily prohibited imports of poultry products from Brazil, a measure that Hong Kong had already taken regarding products from the Aurora processing plant in question.

In the midst of this dispute, the International Poultry Council (IPC) reiterated that based on current scientific information, food has not been shown to transmit COVID-19, confirming the safety of food, including poultry.

Due to this alleged finding of COVID-19 in Brazilian chicken wings, other processing plants in countries such as Argentina have voluntarily determined to limit the shipment of poultry products to China.

View our continuing coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

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