Ice cream in China has been contaminated with COVID-19, according to a new report. During recent routine government testing, three samples from the ice cream manufacturer tested positive for coronavirus.
The tainted ice cream was produced by the Tianjin Daqiaodao Food Company, a frozen dessert business located in north China’s Tianjin Municipality.
All of the products produced by the Tianjin Daqiaodao Food Company “have been sealed and contained after the samples it sent to the municipal center for disease control this week tested positive for coronavirus,” Sky News reported.
“Most of the 29,000 cartons in the batch had yet to be sold, the government said,” according to The Associated Press. “It said 390 sold in Tianjin were being tracked down and authorities elsewhere were notified of sales to their areas.”
Chinese officials suspect that 4,836 boxes of the ice cream may have been contaminated, of which 2,089 boxes had been sealed away in storage.
“A total of 935 boxes of the ice cream, out of 2,747 boxes that entered the market, were in Tianjin and only 65 were sold to markets,” according to Sky News.
The Tianjin Daqiaodao Food Company’s 1,662 employees have been ordered to quarantine and underwent nucleic acid testing on Thursday.
There were no indications that anyone contracted coronavirus from the ice cream.
The ingredients of the tainted treats include milk powder imported from New Zealand and whey powder from Ukraine.
Dr. Stephen Griffin, a virologist at the University of Leeds, told Sky News that the coronavirus was able to survive because of the cold temperature and the fat in the ice cream.
Griffin said there is likely no reason for alarm, “We probably don’t need to panic that every bit of ice cream is suddenly going to be contaminated with coronavirus.”
“It’s likely this has come from a person, and without knowing the details, I think this is probably a one-off,” he added.
“Of course, any level of contamination is not acceptable and always a cause for concern, but the chances are that this is the result of an issue with the production plant and potentially down to hygiene at the factory,” Griffin said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, “Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that handling food or consuming food is associated with COVID-19.”
“Coronaviruses, like the one that causes COVID-19, are thought to spread mostly person-to-person through respiratory droplets when someone coughs, sneezes, or talks,” the CDC explained.
“It is possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object, including food or food packaging, that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes,” the CDC added. “However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration stated, “Currently there is no evidence of food, food containers, or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces or objects.”
“If you are concerned about contamination of food or food packaging, wash your hands after handling food packaging, after removing food from the packaging, before you prepare food for eating and before you eat,” the FDA advised.
The agency recommended to frequently clean and disinfect surfaces, especially food preparation areas.
On Friday, the U.S. State Department revealed that it had new evidence that suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic originated from a virology lab in Wuhan, China.