Recently confirmed cases of Covid-19 at a food market in Beijing has caused uncertainty and speculation in many parts of the value chain.
The Norwegian Seafood Council wishes to reassure consumers and buyers of Norwegian seafood about the food safety of seafood products in light of several unsubstantiated rumors regarding the source of infection.
During a press conference on Tuesday, the deputy director of the Emergency Center of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shi Guoqing, stated the following:
“We currently have no evidence to suggest that salmon is the host or intermediate host of the coronavirus. In the contaminated area of Xinfadi Market related to this new outbreak, there is indeed salmon product found to be contaminated in the coronavirus test. But no virus has been detected on the salmon product that has not yet entered the contaminated area.”
"No matter for salmon or other foods, it is necessary for them to be washed and handled with necessary processes before eating", Guoqing said, according to state-owned news agency ChinaNews.com.
- The coronavirus does not affect seafood safety. There are no known cases of infection via contaminated food, imported food or water, and Norwegian Food Safety Authorities states seafood products from Norway are safe to eat.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have issued detailed guidance on food safety, stating that there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19
- WHO have issued the following statement regarding Covid-19 and food safety
What does the Norwegian Seafood Council do?
We have been following the situation in China closely from the beginning and have maintained good communication between the industry in Norway, Norwegian authorities, and importers in the Chinese market.
In addition to closely monitoring the development of the case in Beijing, we have taken the following measures:
- Contingency management in the event of spread to other markets where correction of incorrect information is required
- Monitoring media coverage and follow up on media inquiries with facts and updated information
- Sharing up-do-date information with key stakeholders.
"In order to ensure communication, the Norwegian Seafood Council has shared our latest information to local partners and customers. We need facts on the table, and both WHO, FAO and The Norwegian Food Safety Authority are clear in their communication regarding this", says Anders Nordøy Snellingen, Manager of the Norwegian Seafood Councils global operations.
Facts about export of Norwegian salmon to China
- In 2019, around 23 500 tonnes of salmon from Norway were exported to China, worth NOK 1.6 billion
- So far this year, 9 958 tonnes of salmon from Norway were exported to China, which represents a decrease in volume of 13 per cent, compared with the same period last year.