Factory sealed, workers being tested
Several batches of ice cream produced in north China tested positive for coronavirus, authorities announced Thursday. Several thousand suspected products have been seized and people who may have encountered released products are being traced.
The contaminated ice cream was manufactured by Tianjin Daqiaodao Food Company. The north Tianjin municipality has sealed and contained the company’s products after three samples tested positive for COVID-19. Investigations so far show that the ice cream was manufactured using local ingredients, milk powder from New Zealand and whey powder from Ukraine.
The company has confirmed that as of 2pm Thursday China time, 1,662 employees have been quarantined and tested. Some 700 have tested while negative, while the results for the remaining 962’s results are pending.
University of Leeds virologist Dr Stephen Griffin told Sky News that the incident is “probably a one-off” and should not “generate panic”. “We probably don’t need to panic that every bit of ice cream is suddenly going to be contaminated with coronavirus,” he said. “Chances are that this is the result of an issue with the production plant and potentially down to hygiene at the factory.”
The ice cream likely tested positive because the virus survived on the fat used to make it and the low temperatures at which it is stored.
Tianjian authorities said 2,089 suspected boxes of ice cream had been sealed while 2,747 had entered the market. Of these, only 65 had been sold. The city has contacted regulation authorities to trace those who purchased the ice cream. Meanwhile, measures have been taken to disinfect the plant.