An ice cream has been found to have been contaminated with coronavirus in China as three samples tested positive for Covid-19.
The incident happened in China’s Tianjin Municipality and the ice cream was produced by Tianjin Daqiaodao Food Company. Anti-epidemic authorities are tracing people who have been in contact with the food items.
The food samples sent to the municipal center for disease control this week tested positive for coronavirus. All food products have been sealed and contained.
According to the international news agency, Initial epidemiological investigations say that the ice creams were produced raw materials, including milk powder imported from New Zealand and whey powder imported from Ukraine.
Dr Stephen Griffin, a virologist based at the University of Leeds, reported to the international news agency that the development was unlikely to be a cause for “panic”.
“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.”
He also said that the cold temperature that ice cream was stored at, and the fact it contains fat, could explain why the virus had survived on the samples taken – but suggested the news should not prompt major alarm.
“We probably don’t need to panic that every bit of ice cream is suddenly going to be contaminated with coronavirus,” he said.
Authorities said the company produced 4,836 boxes of Covid-contaminated ice cream, 2,089 of which had been sealed away in storage.
Total 935 boxes of ice cream, out of 2,747 boxes that were brought in the market, were in were in Tianjin and only 65 were sold to markets.
Authorities said residents who may have bought the product should report their health and physical movements to those in their communities.
The food company’s 1,662 employees have been placed under isolation and nucleic acid testing were also conducted.