Add shrimp suppliers from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to the lengthening list of frozen food exporters fingered for allegedly shipping products in coronavirus-tainted packaging to China, the nation where the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) and the Covid-19 pandemic originated late last year.
Authorities in the PRC are increasingly vigilant in guarding against a resurgence of the deadly virus within its borders. At the same time, exporters who insist that their shipments have been dispatched virus-free, are stepping up pushback against what they insist are unfounded claims against their products.
“While there is absolutely no scientific evidence supporting that Covid-19 can be transmitted through food products, local aquaculture producers regularly send samples to the Saudi Food and Drug authorities for testing in order to ensure the safety of the personnel handling the products after processing and packaging,” said a November 16 statement from the Saudi Aquaculture Society. It was issued in response to media reports claiming that municipal health inspectors in the Chinese city of Lanzhou identified a single sample of imported frozen shrimp from Saudi Arabia that tested positive for the virus after inner packaging was examined for presence of the bug.
The Saudi Aquaculture Society made it clear that shrimp farmers and processing facilities within the Kingdom comply with stringent national and international occupational health and food safety standards. Precisely because of adherence strict standards, its products have been approved for export to highly demanding international markets including Europe, the USA and Japan, as well as China.
“Since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, along with all relevant national authorities and in collaboration with the private sector, have taken all precautionary measures, based on international guidelines, to ensure the health of the workers in all food-producing facilities and to ensure the safety of the products,” emphasized the Saudi Aquaculture Society’s statement.
Meanwhile, there have been zero confirmed reports of consumers being sickened by the Covid-19 respiratory disease after eating frozen foods or via handling the packaging containing such foods. Indeed, multiple health organizations around the world including the WHO, the US Centers for Disease Control and the FDA, have stated emphatically that there is no proof that the spread of Covid-19 is linked to food consumption or packaging. They have stated time and again that Covid-19 is a respiratory ailment, not a foodborne illness.