Coronavirus has been found in some samples of ice cream in the eastern region in another piece of bad news from China, causing authorities to seize potentially infected goods.
A city government statement said that Daqiaodao Food Co Ltd, located in Tianjin, adjacent to Beijing, was sealed and its workers were being screened for the coronavirus. There was no sign that someone from the ice cream had contracted the virus.
The company manufactured the batch of ice cream using raw materials, including milk powder imported from New Zealand and whey powder imported from Ukraine, according to initial epidemiological investigations.
Any amount of contamination is, of course, not appropriate and therefore a cause for concern, but the chances are that this is the result of a manufacturing plant problem and potentially down to factory hygiene.’
Dr Stephen Griffin, a virologist based at the University of Leeds clarified that the cold temperature at which ice cream was stored, and the fact that it contains fat, may explain why on the samples taken the virus had survived – but indicated that the news did not cause a big alarm.
“We probably don’t need to panic that every bit of ice cream is suddenly going to be contaminated with coronavirus,” he said.
On Thursday, following instructions from the Tianjin Center for Disease Control, the company’s 1,662 employees were placed under quarantine and underwent nucleic acid testing.
Authorities said 4,836 boxes of COVID-contaminated ice cream were developed by the company, 2,089 of which were locked away in storage.
Out of the 2,747 boxes that entered the market, a total of 935 boxes of ice cream were sold in Tianjin and only 65 in the markets.
The virus that was first discovered in the central city of Wuhan at the end of 2019 was largely contained in China but has registered hundreds of new infections since December. On Saturday, the country’s health committee blamed them on travellers and imported items that it said brought the virus from abroad.