China reports ice cream contaminated with coronavirus

Medical workers wait to register people before they receive a dose of a coronavirus vaccine, in Beijing - Reuters
Medical workers wait to register people before they receive a dose of a coronavirus vaccine, in Beijing - Reuters
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter

The coronavirus was found on ice cream produced in eastern China, prompting a recall of cartons from the same batch, according to the government.

The Daqiaodao Food Co., Ltd. in Tianjin, adjacent to Beijing, was sealed and its employees were being tested for the coronavirus, a city government statement said. There was no indication anyone had contracted the virus from the ice cream.

Most of the 29,000 cartons in the batch had yet to be sold, the government said. It said 390 sold in Tianjin were being tracked down and authorities elsewhere were notified of sales to their areas.

The ingredients included New Zealand milk powder and whey powder from Ukraine, the government said.

The Chinese government has suggested the disease, first detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, came from abroad and has highlighted what it says are discoveries of the coronavirus on imported fish and other food, though foreign scientists are skeptical.

Chinese officials have blamed cluster outbreaks on frozen food products imported from countries including the US, EU, New Zealand, Canada, India, Germany and Ecuador.

And recently, China blamed an infection in a current cluster outbreak on an imported virus strain that had supposedly contaminated a package of steamed buns.

The World Health Organisation has said that cases of live viruses being found on packaging appeared to be “rare and isolated". Other health experts have cautioned against drawing causal links between food packaging and outbreaks – finding traces of virus indicates it is present on a surface, but does not mean it can cause infections.

The report came as China confirmed 109 new Covid-19 cases, two-thirds of them in a northern province that abuts Beijing, and no deaths.

There were 72 new cases in Hebei province, where the government is building isolation hospitals with a total of 9,500 rooms to combat an upsurge in infections, according to the National Health Commission.

The Health Commission on Saturday blamed the new infections on travellers and imported goods it said brought the virus from abroad.

China's death toll stands at 4,653 out of 88,227 total cases.