Traces of COVID-19 have been detected in ice cream samples in China with health authorities currently tracing those at risk of infection.
According to a report from local Chinese media, three samples of the locally produced ice cream were found to be contaminated with the virus in the Tianjin municipality in northeast China.
About 4,836 boxes of the ice cream, produced by the Tianjin Daqiaodao Food Company, were said to have been contaminated, of which 2,089 have now been sealed in storage.
However, 935 out of the 2,747 boxes of the ice cream that entered the market were said to be in Tianjin with only 65 sold so far.
Early epidemiological investigations showed that the company used raw materials including milk powder imported from New Zealand and whey powder from Ukraine in producing the batch of ice cream.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Stephen Griffin, a virologist based at the University of Leeds, doused the fears generated by the development, describing it as “a one-off.”
“It’s likely this has come from a person, and without knowing the details, I think this is probably a one-off,” he said.
“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.”
The virologist also explained that the temperature of where the ice cream was stored and its fat content enabled the virus to survive on the tested samples.
“We probably don’t need to panic that every bit of ice cream is suddenly going to be contaminated with coronavirus,” he added.
The development has prompted authorities to place the company’s 1,662 employees under quarantine while they were also subjected to acidic testing as directed by the Tianjin center for disease control.
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