Food & Wine

Frozen food contamination fears as Beijing market outbreak grows

Frozen food contamination fears as Beijing market outbreak grows

The coronavirus outbreak which traced to a food market in the Chinese city of Beijing continues to grow as authorities spark fears of frozen food contamination.

The outbreak, first detected at the Xinfadi wholesale market last week, has infected at least 158 people in China’s biggest resurgence since the initial outbreak was brought under control in March.

The city reported 21 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, down from 31 on Wednesday.

City officials are now attempting to trace all possible cases as quickly as they can, with testing and prevention measures being taken.

Fresh meat and seafood in other parts of the country are also being inspected for precautionary reasons.

In the neighbouring Tianjin Municipality, there has been a first local case in months.

The new case was a hotel worker who handled frozen seafood, according to the local health commission.

The infected 22-year-old man had been working in the kitchen of the Conrad Tianjin Hotel since May 30 – washing dishes and occasionally cleaning frozen seafood.

The man had not left Tianjin in the 14 days prior and had not been in contact with a confirmed case.

The case is currently being investigated, as concerns grow of widespread contamination.

One expert told the Global Times that the man was more likely to have been infected by frozen food, or the ice around it, as, if contaminated, it could survive for weeks.

“The frozen seafood touched by the Tianjin patient could be of the same batch with those shipped to Beijing Xinfadi,” Wuhan University virologist Yang Zhanqiu said.

Yang urged residents not to eat raw food and exercise caution when eating processed frozen food.

The first reported cases of the global pandemic emerged from a Wuhan wildlife wet market in December 2019.