Chile Is Trying to Convince China That Salmon Is Safe to Import

(Bloomberg) -- Chile, the top salmon shipper after Norway, is battling to persuade China to resume purchases after authorities in the Asian nation traced a Covid-19 outbreak to a chopping board used by a seller of imported fish.

Officials in Chile have invited their counterparts in China to join a virtual inspection of sanitary protocols used at three plants in the South American country, said Alicia Gallardo, national director or Chile’s fisheries authority, Sernapesca.

Click here for Pauta Bloomberg podcast in Spanish

China’s salmon boycott comes after the new outbreak of the pathogen was linked to a wholesale seafood and meat market in Beijing. Some Chilean producers have redirected shipments as a precaution, but there are about 50 containers in transit, Gallardo told the Pauta Bloomberg podcast on Tuesday.

There’s no evidence that salmon or any other food transmits coronavirus, with the risk coming from contaminated surfaces, she said. The virtual inspection scheduled for Friday aims to show China that Chilean producers are observing best practices so that deliveries to one of its fastest-growing markets can resume.

“I would hope that this closes this episode,” she said.

After the new outbreak, China’s customs authorities started testing all shipments of imported meat, while officials in some major cities are also checking the products at domestic markets. Salmon has been removed from supermarkets and grocery platforms in major cities while top experts are warning people not to consume the omega-3 rich fish.

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