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Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 11:09
Beijing launches platform to trace imported cold-chain food
By WANG XIAODONG
Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 11:09 By WANG XIAODONG

A market supervision official inspects a seafood market in Beijing on June 16, 2020. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

The origin and flow of all imported cold-storage meat and aquatic products available on the market in Beijing will be traceable starting in November, as part of efforts to put such food under effective supervision for COVID-19 control and prevention.

All businesses dealing with imported cold chain food in the Chinese capital will be required to upload data on their products, including the origin and flow, onto a platform starting on Sunday, the Beijing Administration for Market Regulation said on Monday.

All businesses dealing with imported cold chain food in the Chinese capital will be required to upload data on their products, including the origin and flow, onto a platform starting on Sunday

Businesses that have already established their own tracing systems should connect those with the platform, the administration said.

All imported cold-storage meat and aquatic products will be electronically coded on entering Beijing, and trace codes will be available on the packages of the products or market shelves where they are placed so consumers can scan and get information on the products, including their origin and flow.

More types of cold-storage food that are imported may be gradually covered by the tracing system in Beijing, the administration said.

READ MORE: Qingdao to boost COVID-19 precautions

Experts have suspected transmission of the novel coronavirus from meat or aquatic food products or from their packages to humans following COVID-19 outbreaks in recent months in places including Beijing and Dalian, Liaoning province, and have called for intensified supervision of such food, including establishing a tracing system to fight outbreaks at the source in case they occur.

Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an earlier interview that the novel coronavirus could survive in deep-freeze conditions for a very long time.

The China CDC confirmed this in a recent report. Researchers isolated the live novel coronavirus for the first time from a package containing imported frozen cod while tracing a COVID-19 outbreak in Qingdao, a port city in Shandong province, the center said earlier this month. Prior to the outbreak the city had not seen any domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases for several months.

ALSO READ: China finds live coronavirus on imported frozen cod packaging

The discovery confirmed that contact with packaging containing the novel coronavirus can cause infection, the China CDC said, suggesting measures be taken to control risks of the spread of the virus via polluted cold-chain products from overseas.

The discovery confirmed that contact with packaging containing the novel coronavirus can cause infection, the China CDC said

With the COVID-19 pandemic effectively under control in China, the spread of the coronavirus from overseas has become a major risk for epidemic control and prevention in China over the past months.

A total of 16 new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported on the Chinese mainland on Monday, all of them from overseas, according to the National Health Commission.

In addition to Beijing, some other places across China have also intensified supervision of imported cold-storage products.

In Shanghai, the city's market regulation administration has urged all businesses dealing with cold-storage food to upload data on meat and aquatic products to the city's food safety tracing system before the end of October.

In Zhejiang province, the provincial administration for market regulation launched a tracing system for imported cold-storage food in June to supervise its flow. The system will gradually cover cold-storage food produced domestically, the administration said.

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