The Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) said in a statement on Thursday that it has suspended frozen poultry imports from an exporter in Brazil after Shenzhen found COVID-19 on their frozen chicken wings.
The statement did not name the exporter, but Ou Mun Tin Toi, the Chinese-language radio channel of public broadcaster TDM, identified the company as Aurora Alimentos.
On Tuesday, Shenzhen’s Longgang district tested an order of frozen chicken wings which proved positive for the novel coronavirus. The Shenzhen authorities then tested every person who came in contact with the frozen meat and they all had tested negative for COVID-19.
The local bureau was alerted to the situation and on Thursday traced and checked Macao’s frozen meat import records and confirmed that the last time Macao imported poultry from that particular Brazil exporter was on 17 June, according to the statement.
The statement said that Macao did import frozen chicken and chicken thighs from the exporter, but no chicken wings were among the shipments.
The statement underlined that all the frozen foodstuff from the exporter in Macao were confirmed COVID-19-free in Brazil. However, to ensure the safety of the general public, the bureau decided to suspend importing frozen meat from that exporter, according to the statement.
The statement pointed out that the bureau has been conducting random testing on frozen foods imported from foreign countries including Argentina, Brazil, Spain and the United States. The statement underlined that IAM inspectors have increased random testing from 30 to 100 frozen food products a day, adding that they have already randomly tested over 1,000 frozen foodstuff.
Moreover, the bureau has meanwhile tested all staff members who came into contact with imported frozen products, including wholesalers and retailers, for COVID-19 the statement said. The bureau has also tested all workers that had contact with imported frozen foodstuff and continued to communicate with local frozen food businesses to ensure the safety of their products, the statement added.
Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) spokeswoman Chuang Shuk-kwan said during a press conference in Hong Kong on Thursday that the meat would be safe to consume after being thoroughly cooked, adding that after touching frozen meat people should avoid touching their mouth and eyes. She stressed that people should always wash their hands after touching frozen products.