A butcher stores cattle carcasses at wholesale food market Mercado Central in La Matanza, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Picture: REUTERS/AGUSTIN MARCARIAN
A butcher stores cattle carcasses at wholesale food market Mercado Central in La Matanza, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Picture: REUTERS/AGUSTIN MARCARIAN

Beijing/São Paulo — The Chinese city of Wuhan said on Friday it had detected the coronavirus on the packaging of a batch of Brazilian beef, as it ramped up testing of frozen foods this week as part of a nationwide campaign.

The Wuhan municipal health commission said in a statement on its website it had found three positive samples on the outer packaging of frozen, boneless beef from Brazil.

The beef had entered the country at Qingdao port on August 7 and reached Wuhan on August 17, where it remained in a cold storage facility until recently.

The beef shipment’s exporter registration code was 2015, the commission said, which refers to a plant owned by Marfrig Global Foods in Várzea Grande, Mato Grosso state.

Marfrig declined to comment. The Brazilian government did not immediately comment on the status of the plant’s authorisation to sell beef to China.

Marfrig’s Várzea Grande facility had been previously suspended by China over coronavirus concerns. The ban, dating from September 22, was lifted on October 23, according to the ministry’s website.

More than 100 staff at the Wuhan facility have undergone tests, it said, and 200 environmental samples have been taken.

After taking drastic measures to control the spread of the virus in the population this year, China began in late June to test imported food for the virus too.

By September, it had only found 22 positive samples out of almost 3-million but with some port workers recently discovered to be infected, it stepped up testing and disinfection of food imports this week.

Chinese authorities also found the coronavirus on the packaging of Argentinian beef this week, and another imported beef sample was found to be positive in Shandong, that province said on Friday.

China is the world’s top beef buyer and Brazil and Argentina its largest suppliers. 

Reuters

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